When is Eligibility For Permanent Disability Benefits Determined?


Posted by: Chris

Some work-related injuries are minor, whereas others are severe enough to interfere with a victim’s ability to work. If a victim is permanently unable to perform any type of work as a result of their injuries, they may qualify for permanent disability benefits under the workers’ compensation system. But when is eligibility for these benefits determined? Here’s what you need to know:

Maximum Medical Improvement & Permanent Disability Benefits

If you cannot work as a result of your work-related injuries, you may be awarded weekly temporary disability benefits. These benefits are designed to compensate you for lost wages while you recover. 

Your eligibility for permanent disability benefits will not be determined until you have reached maximum medical improvement. An injured worker has reached this state when their treating physician believes their condition will not improve any further in the future. 

Sometimes, this means the victim has made a full recovery from their injuries. For example, if someone has a broken bone, they may reach maximum medical improvement when the bone has completely healed and the cast has been removed. But in other cases, victims are not fully recovered even when they have reached maximum medical improvement. For instance, a brain injury victim may never make a full recovery, so they could continue to experience the effects of their injuries long after reaching maximum medical improvement. 

What Happens After An Injured Worker Reaches Maximum Medical Improvement?

In many cases, workers are able to return to work after reaching maximum medical improvement and fully recovering from their injuries. If this happens, temporarily disability benefits will stop and the worker will not qualify for permanent disability benefits. But if this is not the case, the worker may qualify for permanent disability benefits.

Once you reach maximum medical improvement, a physician will need to evaluate your condition to determine whether or not you eligible for permanent disability benefits. The physician will need to assess the severity of the injury and how it limits your ability to work. 

If you have a disabling injury that permanently prevents you from performing any type of work, you may qualify for permanent total disability benefits. But if you are still capable of performing alternative work, you may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits instead. 

If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury, turn to the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. We have helped countless clients recover the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. Now, let us help you. 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.