If you are injured on the job in Joplin, Missouri, you probably already know that you will be able to receive workers' compensation benefits to cover your medical treatment. However, many Joplin employees are confused as to the different benefits they are entitled to. In this article, Joplin workers' compensation lawyers explain the differences between temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits, and permanent partial and permanent total disability benefits.
Temporary total disability benefits are compensation for lost wages while you are unable to work due to an injury. To qualify for TTD, a doctor must take you off work due to your injury, such as during time recovering after surgery. TTD may also be owed where you are placed on modified duty, but your employer is unable to accommodate. TTD is paid as 2/3 of your average weekly wage in the 13 weeks prior to your injury up to a statutory maximum benefit. TTD is continued until your doctor releases you to return to work, or when your treatment is finished because you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
If your treating physician does not take you completely off work, but rather states that you can perform light or modified duty work, which your employer accommodates, but at less than your full pay or for fewer hours than prior to your injury, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits. The Missouri workers' compensation law provides that TPD benefits be paid as 2/3 of the difference between your average weekly wage prior to the injury and your wage while on modified duty. TPD is continued until you are released to full duty or you reach maximum medical improvement.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Permanent partial disability benefits compensate you for disability due to your injury that is permanent in nature, but partial in degree, meaning that the disability does not render you totally unemployable. PPD is a medical opinion rendered after you have reached maximum medical improvement. PPD is expressed as a percentage of disability at the body part injured. The disability percentage is multiplied by the value of the body part injured based on a schedule of injuries published by the legislature and your PPD rate to arrive at a lump sum compensation amount. Please note that the PPD percentage provided by the treating doctor is not binding on you or an Administrative Law Judge hearing your case, and the value of your claim may be higher than that percentage.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
If your work-related injury renders you disabled to the point that you cannot return to work at all, in any type of employment, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits for the rest of your life. Where the work-related injury is the sole cause of the disability, PTD benefits are the responsibility of your employer. However, if the work-related injury or illness does not in itself render you totally disabled, but such injury in combination with any prior disability causes your total disability, the employer would only be responsible for PPD due to the last injury and Missouri's Second Injury Fund would pay the PTD benefits for the remainder of your life. PTD benefits are paid as 2/3 of your average weekly wage prior to the accident, up to the same maximum benefit under TTD.
For more information on Missouri Workers' Compensation Benefits, click here.
If someone has become permanently and totally disabled, it can be nearly impossible to live on only 2/3 (66 2/3%) of their pre-injury income. However, it is possible to collect both PTD benefits and federal Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). When both PTD benefits and SSD benefits are being received, there may be an offset in your SSD benefits because the Social Security Administration requires that total PTD and SSD benefits not be more than 80% of your prior earnings. While 80% is of course better than 66 2/3%, the SSD offset often can be minimized or eliminated by an experienced workers' compensation attorney structuring your PTD settlement to avoid the offset.
All permanently disabled workers are encouraged to start the Social Security Disability application process as soon as they become aware that they will not be able to return to work, as this can be a lengthy and drawn out process.
The Joplin Missouri workers compensation law firm of Aaron Sachs and Associates has helped many injured Missouri workers through both the workers' compensation and social security systems, to receive the benefits they are entitled to. Call us today for a free assessment of your case.