Permanent Total Disability (PTD): What You Need To Know About Workers’ Compensation
Last updated Thursday, August 25th, 2022
What is Permanent Total Disability?
Permanent total disability (PTD) is a part of the Illinois workers’ compensation system that’s designed to provide lifetime financial support to you if you’ve sustained a permanent work-related injury or illness and are unable to work.
If you’ve been permanently injured at work, you have the right to receive lifetime disability benefits, which are equal to two-thirds (66.6%) of your average weekly wage.
It’s also important to note that this is subject to a maximum of 133.3% of the state average weekly wage at the time of your injury.
Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are typically only paid after you’ve received treatment and your doctor has determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means that your injury will not improve further.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law
You’re eligible for permanent total disability – PTD in Illinois if the following applies to your situation:
- You’ve had complete or partial loss of a body part such as losing a limb, finger, or even an eye in an accident.
- You’ve had complete or partial loss of the use of part of your body as in not being able to partially/fully use one arm because of nerve damage.
- You’ve had partial loss of the use of your body as a whole as in no longer being able to lift heavy objects because of a back injury.
If any of the above describes your situation, then you need to reach out to us today so we can be sure you’re getting the benefits you’re entitled to!
What is Permanent Partial Disability?
Permanent partial disability (PPD) is part of the workers’ compensation system in the state of Illinois. It’s designed to cover employees who have sustained a permanent work-related injury or illness but are still able to work but not at the capacity or the income level they were before.
4 Types of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law
If you’ve been permanently disabled by a work-related injury in the state of Illinois then you may be entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The benefits are typically paid by your employer or your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company after you’ve 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 no further.
Because permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are handled at the state level, they can vary greatly from state to state. 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:
1. Wage Differential
If you had to switch jobs as a result of physical impairments because of your injury/illness, like 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.
2. Scheduled Injury
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. So, if your average weekly wage was $500 when you lost complete use of one hand, you’d 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.
3. 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’re 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.
What are some Permanent Total Disability examples?
Most of the time, a permanent total disability or a permanent partial disability is caused by an injury that resulted in permanent damage and/or loss of mobility. Some Permanent disability examples caused by injuries would be:
- Spinal Cord injury that caused partial or total paralysis
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Loss of limb or Amputation
- Back injury
- Any injury that’s resulted in not being able to walk again
- Any injury that’s resulted in permanent limited mobility
- Carpel Tunnel syndrom
- Severely limited muscle strength
- Injuries to your feet/toe
- Injuries to your fingers/hands
- Loss of sight
- Hearing loss
- Broken bones
However, there are examples of permanent total disability and permanent partial disability that are caused by exposure to something harmful. Examples would be:
- Cancer from exposure to chemicals at work
- Permanent lung damage from exposure to harmful molds
- A work-related illness that’s resulted from exposure to something harmful at work
- Exposure to chemicals, such as asbestos, that’s resulted in permanent lung damage
What is Odd-lot Permanent Total Disability?
This is when you’ve had an injury that has caused your physician to give you permanent medical restrictions that make you unable to get hired at a job you’re otherwise qualified or trained for. This is established after you’ve made a good faith effort of trying to get hired in any well-known employment industry but have been unable to based on your age, skill set, and overall mobility. Some examples of Odd-lot Permanent total disability would be
- You’re a truck driver who can no longer drive and are of an age that shifting into a new career has proven impossible.
- If you’re a laborer who can no longer lift more than a few pounds
- You’re a cook who can no longer stand.
Why You NEED Experienced Legal Representation For Your PTD or PPD Claim
Having a skilled workers’ compensation attorney at your side significantly increases your chances of securing a more favorable permanent total disability outcome. You’ve had permanent damage to your body, your mobility, and your lifestyle. You deserve to be compensated for that loss so that your lifestyle and your family’s future do not suffer.
We are highly experienced in Workers’ Compensation law here at Shuman Legal®. We’ve won some of the biggest case settlements in the state of Illinois. We have a deep understanding of disability law in the state of Illinois and we won’t be caught off guard. Work with us to ensure you get the maximum possible settlement so we can handle all the stress of your case for you. Then you can focus on your recovery!