Temporary VS. Permanent Disabilty

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyers have helped countless workers recover benefits for both temporary and permanent disability.

We recognize that injury limits a person’s ability to work, which in turn limits their ability to provide for themselves and their family. That’s why we are dedicated to obtaining the maximum benefits available to injured workers under the law.

There are several different types of benefits available, depending on the extent of one’s injuries, one’s work experience, education and overall employability. Payments in all cases are typically modest, but they are often critical to families in which a wage-earner is no longer able to work.

Medical Benefits

All workers in Massachusetts who suffer a work-related injury or illness that necessitates medical treatment are entitled to medical benefits. The Commonwealth entitles these workers to reasonable, adequate medical care that is that is required as a result of the injury. There are also reimbursements for:

  • Mileage (for travel back and forth to medical visits)
  • Prescriptions

These benefits are available for as long as one needs hospital or medical services related to the work illness or injury.

Other Types of Work Injury Benefits

In addition to medical benefits, there essentially five kinds of benefits available to injured workers or survivors of those who are killed on-the-job in Massachusetts:

  • Temporary Total Incapacity Benefits
  • Partial Incapacity Benefits
  • Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits
  • Permanent Loss of Function and Disfigurement Benefits
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Benefits

None of these benefits cover pain and suffering and a worker can’t sue his or her employer in addition to collecting benefits. However, neither will the worker need to prove employer was negligent in causing the injuries.

If an insurance company denies these benefits – whether for disputes on causation (was it really work-related?) or extent (arguing the injuries are not as severe as claimant says) or reasonability of treatment (was it medically necessary?) – the Department of Industrial Accidents will make the final call.

Temporary Total Incapacity Benefits

These benefits are available if a worker’s injury leaves him or her unable to work, with consideration of age, training and experience, for six or more full or partial calendar days. These days need not be consecutive.

Benefits are available for up to 156 weeks (three years), beginning on the sixth day of disability. Workers aren’t compensated for those first five days, unless the disability continues for at least 21 days, which again, need not be consecutive.

Benefits are:

  • 60 percent of worker’s gross average weekly wage, with the maximum established under the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment’s State Average Weekly Wage at the time of one’s injury.
Partial Incapacity Benefits

Workers qualify for partial incapacity benefits if they can still work, but have lost part of their overall earning capacity due to the injury or illness.

For example, if an injury forces the worker to change jobs or positions to a lower pay rate or to continue the same job, but with fewer hours, partial incapacity benefits may be warranted.

Benefits are:

  • 75 percent of what a worker’s weekly total temporary benefits would be. So if one’s total temporary benefit was $500 a week, the most he or she could receive would be $375 ($500 x .75 = $375).

These benefits are available for up to 260 weeks (five years).

Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits

Workers may qualify for permanent ant total incapacity benefits if he or she is totally and permanently unable to do any type of work as a result of a work-related illness or injury. One need not expend all temporary benefits before applying for permanent benefits.

These benefits are available potentially for life, or as long as the worker is disabled.

Benefits are:

  • Two-thirds’ the workers average weekly wage (minimum 20 percent of the State’s Average Weekly Wage), calculated by analysis of the full year of pay prior to injury, up to the state’s maximum average weekly wage payment.

Permanent Loss of Function and Disfigurement Benefits

Workers would qualify for this type of benefit if he or she suffered permanent scarring, disfigurement or loss of certain bodily functions.

In order for the “scars/ disfigurement” criteria to be met, the injuries must be located on the hands, neck or face.

Benefits are received in a one-time, lump sum payment.

Benefits are:

  • One-time payment, paid in addition to other payments (i.e., lost wages, medical bills, etc.). The exact amount is based on a determination of severity of function loss or disfigurement.
Survivors’ and Dependents Benefits

Spouses and/or children (under 18 or full-time student or adult disabled) of an employee who died as a result of a work-related illness or injury would qualify for survivors’ and dependents’ benefits.

Benefits are provided to spouses as long as they do not remarry and remain dependent. Children age out at either 18 or when they cease to be a full-time student. However, adult children who are physically or mentally disabled may also receive benefits for life.

Benefits are:

  • For spouse, two-thirds of decedent’s weekly average wage, up to the State Average Weekly Wage at the time of injury/illness.
  • Cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) may be made very two years.
  • Remarriage of the spouse will not eliminate benefit to dependent children, who will still receive $60 weekly until the end of dependency.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.

Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL

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