What are permanent disability benefits?
A permanent disability is any lasting disability from a work injury or illness that affects a worker’s ability to earn a living. If the worker’s injury or illness results in a permanent disability, they’re entitled to Permanent Disability benefits, even if they’re able to go back to work.
Who can receive permanent disability benefits?
Permanent disability benefits are designed to compensate for residual physical or mental impairments resulting from an industrial injury. An injured worker may receive Permanent Disability benefits if:
- The injured worker’s Temporary Disability benefit eligibility period expires.
- The worker reaches a point where their medical condition is not improving and not getting worse. This is called Permanent and Stationary.
What does permanent and stationary mean?
Permanent and Stationary means the worker reached maximal medical improvement, or a point at which the injury can’t heal further.
This is determined by the injured worker’s doctor, and is reported in the doctor’s Permanent and Stationary Report.
Items in the report include:
- Description of the worker’s medical condition, such as how much the worker can move the injured parts of their body.
- Limits on the work the injured worker can do. These are called “work restrictions.”
- Medical care that the worker may need in the future for the injury.
- The injured worker’s ability return to their usual and customary work.
- An estimate of how much the disability is caused by the injured worker’s job, compared to how much it is caused by other factors.
How is the permanent disability benefit calculated?
The law defines the amount of Permanent Disability benefits that can be paid. The calculation of those benefits are determined by a number of factors, including:
- The date of injury
- The type, location, and severity of the injury
- What the worker’s doctor says about the worker’s ability to work
- The injured workers occupation
- The injured worker’s age
- Diminished earning capacity
- The portion of the disability caused by prior injuries and/or nonindustrial factors
How is permanent disability paid?
If an injured worker has a permanent disability, they may receive the total amount of Permanent Disability benefits spread over a fixed number of weeks at a rate set by law.
The rate of pay and number of payable weeks, which are determined by law, depend on the level of permanent disability.
For more information about Permanent Disability, refer to the Division of Workers' Compensation guidebook.