When a work-related injury leaves someone with a disability, the workers’ compensation program should pay them extended benefits. The duration of these benefits depends on whether the worker’s disability is partial or total.
While you are entitled to fair benefits, employers and their insurers have set up a complex system that could require you to take several steps before you receive them. If you need help with Scranton permanent disability Workers’ Compensation claims, contact Gross & Kenny, LLP. A capable workers’ compensation attorney could steer you through the claims process and help you access the benefits you deserve.
Workers injured on the job typically receive workers’ comp coverage while they heal. These temporary disability benefits continue until the worker returns to their former condition. Alternatively, these benefits continue until the treating physician concludes that the worker’s condition has reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning further treatment will not improve functioning. An employer may request an Independent Medical Examination (IME) to confirm the patient has reached MMI and cannot work.
When an employee has received disability benefits for 104 weeks, the employer could order an impairment rating evaluation (IRE) with a physician both parties agree on. An employer could order a second IRE if the first IRE does not produce the desired result. A worker is not obligated to undergo more than two IREs in a twelve-month period, and a legal professional could protest if an employer suggests otherwise.
A worker is permanently disabled if they can never return to work full-time at their pre-injury job. If they can perform some job duties or work part-time, they have a permanent partial disability (PPD), designated by a disability rating of less than 35. If the worker cannot work at any job, they have a permanent total disability, designated by a disability rating between 35 and 100. A legal professional in Scranton could further explain how workers’ compensation programs cover permanent disability and support an injured employee through the claims process.
Permanent disability payments are typically two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage before and after their injury. For instance, if a worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage was $1200 and their current average weekly wage is $300, the worker’s permanent disability payment would be two-thirds of $900, or $600.
If the worker’s impairment rating is less than 35 percent, 77 Pennsylvania Statute § 512 says the worker can receive permanent partial disability payments for 500 weeks, or almost ten years. If the worker’s impairment rating is 35 percent or higher, the worker receives lifetime benefits. Employers and their insurance companies want to avoid paying permanent disability benefits whenever possible, so it is essential to work with a Scranton attorney when pursuing a workers’ compensation claims of this nature.
Workers receiving permanent disability benefits are sometimes entitled to additional compensation through other programs. For example, a worker who has been totally disabled for at least one year could apply for Social Security Disability payments. While a disabled worker can receive disability payments from both programs, the Social Security Administration adjusts payments if the combination of benefits exceeds 80 percent of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage. A local lawyer could explain additional benefits an injured worker might be eligible for and how these would affect existing workers’ comp coverage.
When a worker’s injury or condition prevents them from returning to the job or earning income, they are entitled to permanent disability payments. If the worker’s impairment rating is at least 35 percent, they are entitled to these payments for the rest of their life.
Insurers often resist paying lifetime benefits and may make unfair decisions. If your work-related injury or illness prevents you from returning to your job, consult a local attorney. A skilled lawyer at Gross & Kenny could ensure your Scranton permanent disability Workers’ Compensation claim gets appropriate consideration. Call today to learn more.
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