Virginia has several different types of compensation, or money, that you may receive after you have been injured at work and have filed a worker’s compensation claim. The names of several of them sound similar, and it can be difficult to understand what each one means. One type is Permanent and Total Disability Benefits, for people who have lost multiple body parts or been paralyzed.
Permanent and Total Disability Benefits
Permanent and Total Disability (PTD) Benefits are paid if you:
• Lose both hands, or
• Lose both arms, or
• Lose both feet, or
• Lose both legs, or
• Lose both eyes, or
• Lose any two of those body parts in the same accident, or
• Are paralyzed, or
• Are disabled from a severe brain injury and can’t work again.
So if you lose a hand and a foot in the same accident you would quality for Permanent and Total Disability Benefits. “Lose” in this case means permanently losing the ability to use that part of your body, whether the body part is amputated or not.
Before you receive Permanent and Total Disability Benefits, you first receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits. You can receive Temporary Total Disability Benefits for 500 weeks, which is about nine and half years. After you have finished those 500 weeks, you’ll switch to receiving PTD.
The amount of money you receive for Temporary Total Disability, Permanent Partial Disability, and Permanent Total Disability Benefits is calculated the same way: take the average amount of money that you earned each week before you were hurt at work and multiple it by 0.66667. (This multiple is another way of expressing 2/3.) So if you were earning, on average, $1,000.00 per week before taxes and insurance before you were hurt, $1000 x 0.66667 = $666.67, which is how much you would receive each week in benefits. If you’re working but not making as much money as you were before you were hurt, multiple the difference between that you are earning now and what you used to earn by 0.66667 and you will receive that. So if you used to earn $1000.00 per week before taxes and insurance, and now you’re working but you’re only earning $800.00 per week, the difference is $200.00. Then $200.00 x 0.66667 = $133.34 per week, which is what you will receive for benefits.
When you are receiving either Temporary Total Disability Benefits or Permanent and Total Disability Benefits, you may be able to qualify for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The COLA can start on October 1 of a year. The accident must have happened before July 1 of the same year, so if you are hurt August 14, 2018 you cannot receive a COLA adjustment in fall 2018, but you may be able to qualify in 2019. Another qualification is that the amount you are receiving in worker’s compensation benefits and Social Security combined must be lower than 80% of what you were earning before you were hurt. You have to ask to receive a Cost of Live Adjustment; they are not automatic.
HammondTownsend can help you get the compensation you deserve after you’ve been hurt at work. Call 888-580-9048 for a free consultation.