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What are the Types of Disability Available to Workers in Pennsylvania?

If you are an employee working in the state of Pennsylvania and you have suffered an on-the-job injury or illness, then you may be entitled to benefits from Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation is a type of no-fault insurance that provides those who have been hurt or sickened on the job with compensation for medical expenses as well as wage loss benefits when applicable. It also provides certain benefits to the survivors of workers who have been killed on the job. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance – that means that you have no requirement to prove that your employer or coworker is at fault for the damage that you’ve suffered, and that you are entitled to benefits even in cases where your injury is a result of your own actions or negligence. There are certain restrictions on eligibility and coverage, and there are specific procedures that must be followed and adhered to in order to maximize your ability to successfully claim your benefits. Some employers are cooperative when a workers’ compensation claim is filed against them, and others are less so. If your employer or their insurance company responds to your claim for benefits with a denial, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide you with the counsel and assistance you need.

When an employee’s injury is disabling enough to keep them from work, whether they are totally disabled or partially disabled, they are entitled to wage loss benefits. There are several types of disability benefits available to workers in Pennsylvania. The wage-loss benefits are calculated based on two thirds of the workers’ average weekly wage, and are defined by both a minimum and maximum amount. They include:

  • Total disability benefits – These benefits are provided to workers whose injuries will keep them from returning to the job temporarily, for as long as they have to stay off the job. If the injury keeps them from being able to perform their job duties for 104 weeks, the injured worker will be evaluated to determine whether the disability is partial and impacts less than half of their body, or total, impacting more than 50 percent of their body. For those injuries deemed as being partially disabling, the benefits are limited to a period of no longer than an additional 500 weeks. For those injuries determined to impact more than 50 percent of the body, the disability and benefits are effectively considered permanent.
  • Partial disability benefits – When an injured worker is evaluated and assessed at having less than 50 percent of their body impaired, they are deemed able to perform light-duty work and able to earn again. If there is a difference between what their new assignment pays and their pre-injury wages they can receive partial disability benefits calculated at two thirds of the difference, capped at a maximum weekly rate. This benefit is limited to a 500-week period, during which time they may be reassessed as totally disabled.
  • Specific Loss benefits – These are provided to compensate for permanant loss of use of specific body parts or for serious and permanent disfigurement.

Determining what type of benefits you should be seeking can be complicated. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Vanasse Law have extensive experience in representing injured Pennsylvania workers and getting them the benefits that they deserve. Contact us today to learn more.