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What’s the difference between partial and total disability?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Workers who get hurt on the job in Georgia will often need to file a workers’ compensation claim for the time when they can’t go back to work because of their injuries. It is common for many workers to initially receive partial disability if they can’t do their job while they recover. Most of these claimants will eventually return to their job and no longer require workers’ compensation benefits.

However, sometimes injuries have more lasting consequences. For example, a severe broken bone could result in a range of motion issues, loss of strength or chronic pain that could prevent someone from continuing a job in manufacturing.

Depending on the career, the injury and a number of other considerations, injured workers who have permanent consequences from their injuries may be able to secure either total or partial permanent disability workers’ compensation benefits.

When does an injured worker get partial disability benefits?

Sometimes, an injury or illness that someone suffers because of their employment is serious enough to alter the course of their life but not necessarily to prevent them from working any job in the future. Someone who has worked in skilled manufacturing for years could theoretically command competitive wages until they suffer an injury that will keep them off the factory floor indefinitely.

Those who cannot return to the same job or command the same compensation after an injury or illness caused by their work can typically qualify for partial permanent disability benefits. These benefits help close the gap between the wages a worker could command and what they earn now.

Total permanent disability only occurs in the most severe cases

In order to qualify for total, permanent disability a worker has to show that they are completely incapable of returning to any sort of full-time work and that they will likely remain in the same or worse condition for the foreseeable future, if not for the rest of their life. If a worker can no longer keep a job or provide care for themselves, they can potentially qualify for total permanent disability benefits.

The state regulates the amount of disability benefits someone receives

Generally speaking, disability benefits for total disability, whether permanent or temporary, will be up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, however, the state has a maximum benefit of $575 per week. Those with a partial disability claim can receive a lower weekly benefit which has a maximum amount of $383.00 per week. These benefits can help a worker offset lost or reduced wages after an injury.