What happens if your disability is permanent?

| Aug 1, 2019 | Workers' Compensation

A previous post here discussed how an injured worker in Georgia can get temporary disability benefits after a work-related illness or injury. As that post discussed, these benefits are there to replace a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages while recovering.

Unfortunately, there are some work-related injuries from which an employee will likely never recover. In some cases, this means that the employee is permanently disabled and no longer capable of working at all. In other situations, a person may be able to work, but may not be able to hold a job at the same paygrade, or work the same amount of hours, as prior to the injury or illness.

For these workers, Georgia’s workers’ compensation system can offer partial wage replacement on a permanent basis. When a worker is permanently and totally disabled, that worker will need to prove that the condition qualifies as what the law considers a catastrophic injury. If the worker can establish a catastrophic injury, the worker may continue to receive temporary total disability benefits indefinitely, that is, without regard to the 400-week cap on these benefits.

Georgia also offers a permanent partial disability benefit to those whose injuries or illnesses have affected their ability to earn a living, but have not forced those employees out of the workforce altogether. Those who are interested in permanent partial disability benefits should be aware that the amount they receive will depend on the application of a complicated formula.

Obtaining disability benefits can be difficult on a number of levels. For instance, it may entail getting a company-designated physician to agree that a person is disabled. Navigating this system may require a full understanding of legal rights and options.