In workers’ compensation, permanent total disability benefits (PTD) are available to injured workers who qualify under the strict requirements of the law.
Workers’ compensation law presumse, unless otherwise rebutted by the insurance company, that a worker is permanently and totally disabled and entitling to PTD benefits if one of the following injuries occurred:
- Spinal cord injury involving severe paralysis of an arm or leg or the trunk;
- Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of that appendage;
- Severe brain or closed-head injury as evidenced by:
- Severe sensory or motor disturbance;
- Severe communication disturbance;
- Severe complex integrated disturbance of cerebral function;
- Severe episodic neurological disorder; or other severe brain and closed-head injury condition at least as severe in nature as any condition provided above;
- Second or third-degree burns of 25% or more of the total body surface or third-degree burns of 5% or more to the face and hands or;
- Total or industrial blindness.
Workers’ compensation entitlement to PTD benefits can be established even if an injured worker has not suffered one of the above catastrophic injuries by proving that the work related injuries and restrictions prevent them from returning at least sedentary employment within a 50-mile radius of their home. PTD can also be established by a showing of a combination of injury, restrictions, lack of transferable skills and a failed good faith job search.
If entitled to PTD benefits, your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier will issue checks in the amount of two-thirds of the AWW, or the compensation rate, which is the same amount as if you were on a no work status. These checks will continue until the injured worker reaches age 75 (depending on the date of accident and at what age the injured worker was found to be at a PTD status). The workers’ compensation law also provides for payment of weekly supplemental benefits which are paid until the injured worker becomes 62. If accepted as PTD after age 62, no supplemental benefits are due.
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