Permanent Total Disability Vs. Temporary Total Disability

In some cases, a work injury can render you totally unable to work, either for a short period of time or for life. Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, it is your employer’s responsibility to make sure you are taken care of, both in terms of your medical expenses and your lost income.

There are two types of total disability benefits you can receive under workers’ compensation:

  • Permanent total disability (PTD)
  • Temporary total disability (TTD)

Obviously, PTD is intended for those who are permanently disabled while TTD is intended for those who are disabled only temporarily.


Regardless of whether you are temporarily or permanently disabled, you are entitled to the same amount of compensation: 2/3 (or 66.67%) of your average weekly earnings. In most cases, this amount is pretty easy to figure out, but it can get a little messy if you have just started your job or if your income is inconsistent.

In addition, both of these types of compensation require you to obviously be totally disabled. To get PTD and TTD benefits, you must fulfill one of the following conditions:

  • Be totally unable to perform any type of work due to your injury
  • Be declared unable to work by a physician
  • Have a limitation placed by a physician on the types of work you can do, and be unable to find work that satisfies that requirement

In either case, you must be able to prove that your injury renders you unable to work.


Permanent total disability has specific requirements in terms of what types of injuries will qualify. While you will be entitled to PTD benefits if you are declared unable to work for life, you can also claim benefits if you have lost any two body parts from the following list:

  • Eyes
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Arms
  • Legs

This can either be a pair of one type of these body parts (such as both hands) or any combination of two of these (such as a foot and an eye).

Also, these benefits are only paid out once your medical treatment is completed. The purpose of this is to determine whether your condition will improve and, therefore, if you’ll ever be able to work again. If your doctor determines that your condition is not likely to improve, then you should be eligible for PTD benefits for life.


Temporary total disability works something like PTD, except that you can obtain benefits while you’re still receiving treatment rather than waiting until everything is resolved. However, this doesn’t mean that you will get benefits immediately. Under Illinois law, you have to have missed three days of work before you get payments. After fourteen days, the first three are compensated. TTD benefits continue until your medical treatment ends and you return to work.

Obtaining TTD or PTD

Whether you qualify for temporary or permanent total disability, you will need legal assistance since your employer (and their insurance provider) may try to minimize the amounts they owe you. Hart & David can provide you with the legal assistance you need to get what you’re owed.

Related Posts
  • Should I Accept a Settlement from the Insurance Company? Read More
  • The Role of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases Read More
  • Why You Shouldn’t Jump to Take the First Settlement From Your Insurance Company Read More