Permanent partial disability (PPD) claims are the most common type of workers' compensation cases, making up over half of all workers' comp claims nationwide. Permanent partial disabilities can be caused by either a work-related injury or an occupational disease. PPD means that some form of permanent impairment exists, which makes a worker unable to perform at his or her full capacity. Permanent partial disability is different than a total disability, which means a person can't work at all (or is presumed to be totally disabled because of a loss of both eyes, both hands, or total paralysis).
Permanent partial disability can occur as a result of a wide range of medical conditions. Back injuries are by far the most common type of permanent partial injuries; however, there are many other injuries and illnesses that fall under this category. Other common examples include:
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- amputation of a body part, such as a finger or a hand
- hearing loss
- loss of vision in one eye
- knee injury
- nerve damage, or
- PTSD, also known as post traumatic stress disorder.
Amount of Compensation
Because workers' compensation is administered on a state-by-state basis, compensation varies by location. Most states use a disability schedule to determine PPD compensation amounts. Compensation can depend on the severity of the disability, according to a doctor's rating. For example, someone with a 25% disability will receive less than someone with a 50% disability. Other states base their PPD benefits on the estimated loss of future earnings or the loss of actual and ongoing wages.
Generally, workers' compensation benefits are exempt from taxes. However, workers' compensation settlements may have an effect on other taxable disability payments. Because tax laws are often confusing, lawyers frequently help people understand how taxes will impact their finances. In some cases, a person may qualify for a disability tax credit, reducing the amount of taxes they have to pay. Qualifying for a disability tax credit depends on many factors, such as age, residency, and total income including non-taxable benefits.