When a person is injured at work they may have many concerns not just about their health but also about how they are going to pay their bills and put food on the table while they cannot work to earn their normal wages. For this reason, Pennsylvania offers qualifying individuals workers’ compensation benefits. The following is a brief overview of the types of benefits injured workers can seek.
What is the difference between partial and total disability?
Before we can discuss the types of benefits injured workers may be entitled to it is important to discuss total disability versus partial disability. This is because the types of benefits you may seek may depend on whether you are partially or totally disabled.
A worker may have total disability status if their injury renders them totally disabled and unable to work. If a worker is totally disabled for 104 weeks or more, then their employer/insurer can require them to be medically examined to see if the worker is at least 35% impaired due to their injury, per the standards set by the American Medical Association. If so, the worker will continue to have total disability status. If not, the worker will have partial disability status.
If you have a qualified impairment that does not meet the threshold for total disability status but still causes you to miss work or return to a position paying lower wages, then you may qualify for partial disability status. If you qualify you can claim this status for up to 500 weeks.
What types of benefits does workers’ compensation offer?
There are a variety of benefits injured workers can seek. One is wage-loss benefits. These may be an option if it is determined that the injured worker cannot work because they are totally disabled or if the injured worker is earning less than they were before their injury because they are partially disabled.
Death benefits may be another option. These benefits are sought by the worker’s surviving dependents if the worker is killed on-the-job.
Another type of benefit that may be available are specific loss benefits. If you have permanently lost the use of a specific part of your body or if you have been permanently disfigured, you may be able to seek specific loss benefits.
Medical benefits may be an option in some circumstances. If you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, these benefits may include coverage for related and reasonable medical and surgical care. Medicine, hospital services, orthopedics and prostheses may also be covered. You will not be billed any balance for covered service.
Learn more about workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania
Once you know what you are entitled to you can begin the process of seeking workers’ compensation benefits. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania may be a good starting point for those who want to learn more about this topic.