Posted by Mann Law Firm on 10/12/2018

Should You Seek Temporary or Permanent Disability?

Should You Seek Temporary or Permanent Disability?

One of the unfortunate facts of life is that people get hurt and sick at work. If this has happened to you, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that you are far from alone. There are almost three million cases of non-fatal illnesses and injuries reported every year in the U.S.

If you are hurt on the job, you could be eligible for temporary or permanent disability benefits. But which one is right for your injury? This article explains when you should seek temporary or permanent disability benefits.

Temporary Disability Benefits Overview

If you suffer injuries in your place of employment that cause you to miss seven work days, you may be eligible to receive weekly temporary disability benefits for additional time away from work. After you have missed work for 21 straight days, you may be eligible for compensation for the first seven work days you missed.

A physician will determine what the degree of your disability is, and that will decide if you can receive one of two types of temporary benefits:

  • Temporary total disability: You may receive these benefits if your injury prevents you from working at all on a temporary basis. Payment will typically equal 2/3 of your average weekly pay when you were injured. If your injury is catastrophic, such as losing a limb, you can receive these benefits for the length of your disability. But if your injury is temporary and non-catastrophic, benefits will cease 400 weeks from the injury date.
  • Temporary partial disability: If your company gives you a light-duty job that is based upon the limitations that your doctor describes, you are eligible for these benefits. You will need to accept the light-duty position and try to perform the job duties for approximately 15 days. During this time, your total disability benefits will stay the same. But if you can do the light-duty job, you may be given temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits will usually be 2/3 of the difference between your average weekly pay before the injury and the wages that you earn in your light-duty job. They are usually available for up to 350 weeks from the injury date.

You can apply for workers’ compensation benefits by reporting your accident or injury to your company. You will be required to get medical treatments as your employer directs. Also, your employer will start a workers’ comp claim through its insurance provider.

Initial payment of benefits must occur by the 21st day after your company learns of your injury. 

Permanent Disability Benefits Overview

You may be eligible for permanent disability benefits if you cannot return to employment at all.

In this case, your physician will determine that you are unable to go back to work. You will be eligible for temporary total disability benefits as long as you are injured and disabled. If you are able to return to work, you will receive permanent partial disability benefits. These are based upon a permanent disability rating that your doctor will assign to you.

The period for which you get these benefits depends upon the part of the body that was injured. For example, you might get 20 weeks of payment for the loss of a toe, other than the big toe. You may receive benefits for at least 225 weeks for losing an arm or leg, or 300 weeks for having a total body disability.

Applying for Permanent Disability Benefits

You do not actually apply for these benefits; rather, you will report the injury to your company, and it files a workers’ compensation claim with its insurance provider. If your treating physician determines that you have a permanent disability, the report from your state’s compensation board will state the amount of disability compensation you are eligible to receive.


Filing workers’ compensation claims for temporary and permanent disability is complicated. Denial of coverage is a common problem. An experienced workers’ comp attorney will safeguard your rights. If you have been injured on the job, it is recommended that you have the case reviewed by an experienced attorney in your state.

Contact This Member

Join our Mailing List to Receive Marketing Tips