Temporary vs. Permanent Disability: What’s the Difference?

The A&M TeamWorkers’ Compensation, Social Security

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Disability benefits are extremely important, but they can also be complicated and confusing to secure. Depending on your particular circumstance, disability benefits may be offered through four different sources: workers’ compensation, Social Security, the state government, or a private insurer. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or is suffering from an occupational disease, preventing you from working, you may be eligible for some form of disability benefits.

The majority of states (including Oklahoma) recognize that there are two types of disability: permanent or temporary. It should be noted that these are sometimes referred to as permanent partial disability (PPD) and permanent total disability (PTD). In order to better understand which may be the right option for you, it is important to we take a look at the difference between the two. Keep in mind that the workers’ compensation attorneys at Atkins & Markoff are here to help you understand your rights and what benefits you may be eligible for. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Understanding Temporary Disability Benefits

You may be eligible for temporary disability benefits if you have been injured or are unable to return to work for medical reasons, yet you are in the process of recuperating from your injury. In most cases, a doctor is required to certify that you cannot work. Basically, in order to qualify for temporary disability benefits, you must have medical evidence indicating that you cannot work for a period of time. Once you are approved for temporary disability benefits, you will be entitled to receive weekly compensation checks that are either issued by your employer or an insurance company. In most states, temporary disability benefits can last up to two years. When your doctor has decided that your recovery has plateaued and that your condition will likely not improve these benefits will end. At this point, you may be able to seek permanent disability benefits. The other side of this is when your condition is improving, so much that your doctor clears you to return to work. When this occurs, your temporary disability benefits will naturally end, as you will once again be able to perform your job and receive a paycheck.

Understanding Permanent Disability Benefits

On the other hand, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits if your medical condition is not expected to improve over time, meaning you will not be able to work ever again. In some cases, this is referred to as a stable medical condition, which means that you have reached the point of maximum medical improvement. When this happens, you are entitled to receive weekly disability benefits. The number of weeks you will be eligible for will be determined by whether you have a ‘scheduled’ injury or an ‘unscheduled’ injury. Permanent disability cases can be quite complicated, in particular, in large part because of the fact that your employer will have to compensate you for the foreseeable future.

Due to the complicated nature of disability benefits cases, we encourage you to contact an attorney from Atkins & Markoff right away. Our knowledgeable workers’ comp and social security disability benefits attorneys will work with you one-on-one to ensure you fully understand your case and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries or illness.