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What to know about permanent total disability benefits

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned that the typical time off work because of workplace injuries in 2021-2022 was 10 days. For some workers, the time off stretches into a permanent situation. They may not ever heal enough to return to work.

In New Jersey, workers dealing with long-term disabilities might get assistance through a determination of permanent total disability under the state’s workers’ compensation system. Knowing the details of permanent total disability benefits is necessary for individuals dealing with the lasting effects of their conditions.

Definition of permanent total disability

When a work injury or illness prevents a worker from returning to any gainful employment, they may receive permanent total disability benefits. This designation may apply when a worker has lost two major members or a combination thereof, such as eyes, arms, hands, legs or feet. Additionally, permanent total disability can result from a combination of injuries that render the worker unemployable.

Weekly benefits

The weekly benefits are initially available for 450 weeks. They can continue beyond that period if the injured worker demonstrates an ongoing inability to earn wages. Any wages earned after 450 weeks offset the weekly computation proportionally to the income at the time of the injury. The insurance pays permanent total disability benefits weekly, based on 70% of the average weekly wage. They cannot exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage or fall below the minimum rate of 20% of the SAWW.

Second Injury Fund assistance

The Second Injury Fund from the Division of Workers’ Compensation gives benefits to workers with complete and permanent disabilities due to their most recent work-related injury combined with pre-existing disabilities. This fund encourages employers to hire disabled workers, with employers only having to handle the part related to the work injury in the total disability award.

In New Jersey, the workers’ compensation system understands the difficulties that people with permanent total disabilities face. It provides a strong set of benefits to offer financial stability and support for those dealing with life’s challenges after a work-related injury or illness.