After you received workers’ compensation benefits for two years, you may be asked to undergo a medical examination to receive an impairment rating. The impairment rating you are given can have a significant effect on your ability to make ends meet because it can shorten the total time you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
How Impairment Ratings Work
When you have received workers’ compensation for two years, your employer’s insurance provider will ask for an evaluation of your condition. The evaluation is performed by a physician agreed upon by all parties. They will examine and assign you an impairment rating. The impairment rating is a percentage of how adequately you can move as opposed to someone who did not suffer your type of injury. For example, a medical examiner may evaluate your condition and determine that you lost about 25 percent of your ability to normally move or perform regular activities. The higher the impairment percentage, the less functionality you have.
Until recently, unless you had an impairment rating at or above 50 percent, you would only receive partial disability benefits. As you might imagine, 50 percent of functional loss was nearly impossible to achieve unless you were tragically disabled. In 2018, the state signed Act 111 into law, which reduced the impairment rating from 50 to 35 percent and capped partial disability payments to 500 weeks. Yet, most workers still have trouble meeting the 35 percent impairment rating mark, making it more likely to receive partial disability benefits rather than total disability benefits.
Partial versus Total Disability Benefits
If you receive an impairment rating of 34 percent or below in Pennsylvania, your workers’ compensation benefits will change from total to partial. This does not mean that you will receive partial payment. It simply means that you will continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits for another 500 weeks. After that point, you will stop receiving payments to recover lost wages. On the other hand, if your impairment rating is at 35 percent or higher, you would continue to receive total disability benefits. Insurance providers want to see impairment ratings at or below 34 percent, so they can anticipate an end to a workers’ compensation claim payout.
Media Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Advocate for Injured Workers
If you are facing an upcoming impairment evaluation or received an unfair impairment rating, the Media workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello can help. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, Media, and West Chester. For a free consultation, call us at (610) 892-4940 or contact us online today.