Permanent Disability Vs. Temporary Disability

A disabling workplace accident is a frightening experience, and you may be uncertain what your future will hold. Any lasting disabilities you have from the incident can affect your ability to support yourself and negatively impact your quality of life.

Some disabilities are temporary, whereas others are permanent. Illinois workers’ compensation law handles these two types of disability very differently, and knowing the differences can help you know what type of compensation you’re entitled to receive.

Temporary Disability

Temporary disability benefits are based on the assumption that you will eventually recover enough to resume living a normal life. They’re designed to help support you while your earning capacity is diminished.

TTD (temporary total disability) and TPD (temporary partial disability) provide compensation amounts based on your average weekly wage for the last 52 weeks. TTD provides you with 2/3 of the amounts you would normally earn. On the other hand, TPD, which assumes you are still able to work in a diminished role, pays 2/3 of the difference between your former earnings and current wages.

Permanent Disability

While temporary disability only lasts as long as your disability prevents you from working normally, permanent disability covers you long-term. The way it’s calculated depends on the type of injury and whether you are able to continue working in a diminished role.

Specifically, Illinois law provides four ways to calculate permanent disability:

  • Wage differential, in which you are paid 2/3 of the difference between your former wages and current earnings
  • Schedule of injuries, which sets a number of weeks based on body parts lost and pays 60% of your average weekly wage (AWW) for that many weeks
  • Non-scheduled injuries, or percentage of loss of your person as a whole, in which the percentage lost is multiplied by 500 weeks
  • Disfigurement, in which you’d be entitled to up to 162 weeks of benefits

The above calculation methods apply to those who have a partial disability. Those who have a total disability can receive benefits for life based on 2/3 of their average weekly wages. Alternatively, beneficiaries can settle for a lump sum amount.

A worker is considered to be completely and permanently disabled if they have lost any two of the following:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Eyes

For instance, you could be considered totally disabled if you’d lost both eyes or both hands. Alternatively, you might lose an arm and a leg and still qualify.

Securing Disability Benefits

Disability benefits typically require a written note from your doctor declaring you unable to fulfill your work-related duties. Once you reach maximum medical improvement (or MMI), temporary benefits end. With permanent disability benefits, they continue on.

In some cases, it may not always be completely clear what types of benefits you need from the outset. Your employer may also attempt various means of minimizing the amounts they have to pay out. To cope with these issues, a workers’ compensation attorney is absolutely vital. Even if you haven’t run into any complications, an attorney can still guide you through the best possible course of action.

Hart David Carson LLP provides skilled legal guidance and representation when it comes to recovering disability benefits. For more information, contact our attorneys today.

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