Temporary Disability Vs. Permanent Disability
Under Pennsylvania law, there are three types of disability benefits: total, partial and permanent injuries, i.e. specific loss. Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania does not have either permanent total or permanent partial disability benefits. Whenever someone is totally or partially disabled those benefits can be challenged at any time based on medical evidence or job availability. Assigning the level of disability is often hotly contested and can result in an injured worker receiving less compensation than they deserve.
At AlpernSchubert, P.C., in Pittsburgh, we help injured workers get the full disability benefits to which they’re entitled. Our attorneys understand the workers’ compensation system and can help you get all the benefits you need to move comfortably forward in your life.
What If A Worker Is Disabled From Performing Work Due To A Work Injury?
Disability payments are divided into two categories:
- Temporary partial disability
- Temporary total disability
Temporary payments for total disability are capped at $1025 a week, for 2022, under Pennsylvania law. These workers receive two-thirds of their weekly earnings up to that maximum unless they earn below $600.55 a week. At that level and below, the worker earns 90 percent of their weekly pay.
Temporary partial disability benefits last for up to 500 weeks in the state of Pennsylvania. Insurance companies use these medical examinations to show that the worker can return to work or receive only part of the benefits they are entitled to. They are based on two-thirds of the difference between what one is earning under work limitations and the average weekly wage of the individual.
Injured employees should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer when a medical examination is requested or when the insurance provider has not paid these benefits.
What If A Worker Is Totally Disabled?
A worker is placed on total disability benefits when he or she cannot go back to work. Workers who are on total disability benefits will eventually have their claims reviewed. If the worker is more than 35 percent disabled, they can continue to receive total disability benefits, otherwise the worker is shifted to partial disability benefits with the 500-week limitation. This is measured by an Impairment Rating Evaluation. This IRE cannot be done until an injured worker has received 104 weeks of total disability benefits.
The other reason for the medical examination is to show that the injured worker can do some type of work, or return to their regular job, and then be shifted to partial disability benefits or benefits stopped entirely. The examinations are generally performed by physicians who regularly do these for the compensation carrier or employer.
There is only one type of permanent injury under Pennsylvania law. That is if you suffer the loss, or loss of use, of an arm or leg, or part of an arm/hand/leg/foot, including a finger or toe, due to a work injury. You may also be entitled to benefits if you suffer an unsightly scar from a work injury of the head or neck. This is otherwise known as specific loss benefits. There is a set schedule for a loss of an arm or leg or part of the arm or leg. For scarring you can be eligible for up to 260 weeks of benefits depending on the severity of the scar.
More Questions? Call Today.
Call our Pittsburgh office at 412-506-9561 or fill out our online intake form to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers. At AlpernSchubert, P.C., our attorneys have over a century of combined experience and proudly serve the western Pennsylvania area, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County and Washington County.