Temporary vs. Permanent Disability Benefits: What’s the Difference?


Posted by: Chris

Most employees in Oklahoma are covered by the workers’ compensation system, which means they are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries. Two of the main types of workers’ compensation benefits are temporary disability and permanent disability benefits. If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury, it’s important to understand the difference between these benefits. 

What Are Temporary Disability Benefits?

Temporary disability benefits are awarded to injured workers who are temporarily unable to perform their job duties as a result of their injuries. These benefits are designed to replace a portion of the income that workers have lost due to their injuries. 

There are two forms of temporary disability benefits: temporary partial and temporary total disability benefits. Temporary partial benefits are awarded to workers who cannot perform their pre-injury job duties, but can perform alternative work. If the alternative work pays less than their pre-injury job, they may be awarded these benefits for a period of 52 weeks.

Temporary total disability benefits, on the other hand, are awarded to workers who cannot perform any type of work while they recover from their injuries. These benefits are typically awarded for up to 104 weeks, but a 52-week extension may be approved under certain circumstances. 

What Are Permanent Disability Benefits?

Injured workers may qualify for permanent disability benefits after they have reached maximum medical improvement and exhausted their temporary disability benefits. If a worker will never be able to work again as a result of their injuries, they may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. But if they can perform some type of alternative work, they may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits instead. 

Permanent total disability benefits will continue for either a period of 15 years or until the worker reaches the age where they can claim maximum Social Security retirement benefits, whichever is longer. 

The amount of time that permanent partial disability benefits will continue will depend on the type and severity of the worker’s injury. For example, you may qualify for 66 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits for an amputated thumb, but you will only qualify for 39 weeks of benefits for the amputation of your first finger. But in general, these benefits can continue for a maximum of 360 weeks. 

Have you been injured at work? If so, it’s in your best interest to contact the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. Our team is committed to helping injured workers obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to by law. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.