Permanent Total Disability
Permanent total disability (PTD) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a disability rating used by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) to calculate workers’ compensation benefits.
Let’s look at an example of a permanent total disability and how it affects the workers’ compensation benefits process. An employee is working for a company in Boston that provides tree-trimming services for homes and utility lines. The employee is standing in the bucket of a cherry picker truck using a chainsaw to cut branches off a utility line. Due to a mechanical defect, the bucket drops, and the worker is seriously injured during the fall.
The worker is taken to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, where doctors diagnosed him with a broken back. At this stage in the process, there is no question that he cannot return to work in the near future, so he applies for workers’ compensation benefits.
He will likely be entitled to temporary total disability benefits designed to cover medical bills, lost wages during the time he cannot return to work, and the cost of rehabilitative care. At some point in the future, after trying several times to restore mobility and sensation, surgeons determine worker will never recover from his on-the-job fall injury. While there are other surgeries that could be performed, surgeons decided that everything feasible to reverse the paralysis has already been attempted, and the worker has reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI).Permanency of Work Injury
Once an injured worker has reached maximum medical benefits, there are options as to the next course of action. At the Law Offices of Jeffery S. Glassman, LLC, our legal team in Massachusetts know sometimes it is necessary to challenge a finding of MMI. It may be possible to obtain a second opinion from another healthcare provider to determine if there really is another medical option that will help increase the chances of a better recovery.
On the other hand, if MMI has been reached, it will be necessary to apply for permanent total disability benefits. PTD benefits are designed to compensate the injured worker for medical bills, lost wages from future earnings worker would have earned had he been able to return to work, and the cost of ongoing medical care.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) provides guidelines that determine the maximum level of compensation a workers’ compensation claimant may receive under a permanent total disability rating.
Pursuant to EOLWD guidelines and Massachusetts General Laws, an injured worker with a PTD rating can receive two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage, based upon employee’s prior year of weekly earnings before suffering the disability. This figure is capped at the maximum of state average weekly wage (SAWW). Alternatively, PTD benefits could be calculated at a minimum of 20 percent of the SAWW, where wages for a particular worker is lower than the SAWW.