What Is Permanent Partial Disability?
Permanent partial disability (PPD) is part of the workers’ compensation system in the state of Illinois. It covers employees who have sustained a permanent work-related injury or illness but are still able to work.
- The complete or partial loss of a body part (e.g. losing an arm in an accident)
- Complete or partial loss of the use of part of the body (e.g. not being able to partially/fully use one arm because of nerve damage)
- The partial loss of the use of the body as a whole (e.g. no longer being able to lift heavy objects because of a back injury)
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law
If you have been permanently disabled by a work-related injury, you may be entitled to PPD benefits. The benefits are typically paid by your employer or your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company after you have recovered and your doctor has confirmed that you’ve reached “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). In other words, that your injury has healed to the greatest extent possible and will improve further.
Because PPD benefits are handled at the state level, they can vary greatly from one state to the next. Different states use different approaches to calculating benefits.
In Illinois, your employer and/or the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) will calculate your PPD benefits in one of the following four ways:
If you had to switch jobs as a result of physical impairments because of your injury/illness (e.g. switching from a construction job to an office job) and the new job pays less than your former job, you can receive a wage differential of two-thirds 66.6%) of the difference between your former and current gross weekly wage. However, there is a weekly cap on the wage differential.
As an alternative to the wage differential, you can collect a permanent disability payment based on 60% of your average weekly wage. The state of Illinois caps the number of weeks you can collect payment for injury to 25 specific body parts. For example, the maximum number of weeks you can collect for a hand injury is 205 weeks. For an arm amputated above the elbow, the max is 270 weeks. The scheduled injury benefit is calculated by multiplying the number of weeks by 60% of your average weekly wage. As an example, if your average weekly wage was $500 when you lost complete use of one hand, you would take 60% of that amount ($300) and multiply it by the number of weeks for that body part (205) to arrive at a total payout of $61,500.
Permanent Loss of Person as a Whole
This method is applicable when your condition isn’t among the 25 injuries on the schedule. Also called the nonscheduled injury method, it considers your age, occupation, skill, pain, limitation of motion and inability to perform certain tasks. In short, it measures the effect of your disability on your life and comes up with a percentage of impairment to you as a whole. That number is multiplied by 500 weeks to determine the total number of weeks to which you are entitled.
It’s then necessary to multiply the total number of weeks by 60% of your average weekly wage. For example, if your disability means the loss of use of your whole person by 40%, you will multiply that percentage by 500 to arrive at a figure of 200 weeks. If you were earning $500/week on average, 60% of that is $300. You would then multiply 200 weeks by $300 to arrive at a total payout of $60,000.
If you suffered a serious, permanent change to your appearance (such as a burn or cut to your face, head, neck, hands, arms or lower legs) the disfigurement will be assigned a value. This is up to a maximum of 162 weeks. It’s then necessary to multiply the number of weeks by 60% of your average weekly wage to determine your benefit. For example, your disfigurement has a value of 150 weeks and 60% of your average weekly wage is $300. Therefore, the calculation would be: 150 weeks x $300/week = $45,000. This is your total benefit amount.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) vs. Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Workers who are partially disabled but still able to work can receive PPD benefits. But, not necessarily in the same job. On the other hand, workers who are completely and permanently unable to work can receive permanent total disability benefits.
Benefits of Having Legal Representation for Your PPD Claim
A skilled attorney can significantly increase your chances of securing a favorable disability payout. Plus, he or she will ensure your benefits are calculated correctly. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD. will counsel you throughout the process of collecting workers comp benefits and ensure you secure the compensation you and your family need in order to move forward.