A lot of workers suffer injuries on the job. The lucky ones fully recover and return to work at full capacity. But many others aren’t so lucky. They suffer permanent impairment from an injury they suffered on the job. Georgia’s workers’ compensation system addresses these workers by providing permanent partial disability benefits in Atlanta.
How are permanent partial disability benefits paid?
The first income benefits that workers receive following a qualifying work injury are temporary partial disability or temporary total disability benefits. The former are for workers who return to a lower-paying position after an injury; the latter are for workers unable to work for at least seven days.
Eventually, workers may apply for permanent partial disability benefits. To do so, they must have a rating from a physician. More severe impairments result in higher ratings. This rating is important because it largely dictates the permanent partial disability benefits you will receive.
These benefits are calculated by multiplying the physician’s rating by the number of weeks corresponding to the injured body part. Then multiply the result by the workers’ temporary total disability rate.
For example, say you have an injured hand (worth 160 weeks), a physician gave you a 20 percent rating, and your temporary total disability benefit amount is $500 per week. Your permanent partial disability benefits would be $16,000 (160 x 20 percent x $500).
You can see the corresponding number of weeks for each body part injury in Section 34-9-263 of Georgia Code. The maximum weekly benefit under permanent partial disability is $525 as of July 1, 2013.
How long can I receive temporary partial disability benefits?
If you qualify for temporary partial disability benefits, you can receive benefits for up to 350 weeks from the date of your injury.
Calculating Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
The amount paid for temporary partial disability benefits depends on your average weekly wages before the injury, as well as those you receive after the injury. These benefits equal two-thirds of the difference between your wages before your injury and after the injury.
So if you were receiving $750 a week before the injury and now you’re in a position paying you $500 a week as you recover, you are entitled to two-thirds of $250; it comes out to about $166.67 a week. The weekly maximum for temporary partial disability benefits is $350 per week, as of July 1, 2013.
Are any other benefits available?
While temporary partial disability is available to workers able to return to work – albeit at a lower-paying wage – temporary total disability may be available if you cannot return to work at all for at least seven days.
After exhausting the 350 week period for temporary partial disability, a worker who has sustained a catastrophic injury – an injury severe enough to prevent the employee from being able to return to prior work – the worker may be able to qualify for permanent partial disability benefits.
How to Take Action to Apply for Benefits Today
Applying for permanent partial disability benefits on your own isn’t always easy. It can be confusing and getting a fair rating from a physician might be a challenge for some workers.
If you sustained a permanent disability due to a work-related injury, the attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, in Atlanta can assist you in applying for benefits. Call our legal team today at 678-562-5595.