Permanent Partial Disability in Workers' Comp Claims

A permanent partial disability means you have an impairment that didn't go away after you recovered from a workplace injury or illness.

Updated by , J.D. · University of Missouri School of Law

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 from 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).

Common Injuries That Cause Permanent Partial Disability

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 for Permanent Partial Disability

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.

Taxes and Workers' Comp Benefits

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.

Permanent Disability Advance Payments

A permanent disability advance is a lump sum payment of your permanent disability award that's paid before you're scheduled to receive your permanent disability payment. But if you have the financial resources to make ends meet until you receive your permanent disability award at the scheduled time, you will likely be better off financially.

First, you might be charged a fee for requesting and receiving a permanent disability advance. Second, it is important to consider whether you lose any rights by accepting a permanent disability advance.

This may include loss of your right to appeal the amount of the permanent disability awarded to you. You should talk to a workers' comp attorney in your area before accepting a large permanent disability advance to ensure that you are aware of all the rights you are giving up and can make the most informed choice.

How Long Will It Take to Get My PPD Award or Settlement?

Whether your PPD claim will take weeks, months, or even years depends on the complexity of your case and at what stage of the process you're approved (or settle). For straightforward claims, you might receive your award within a month after receiving your disability rating. If you're looking to negotiate a settlement with the help of a lawyer, be prepared for a longer wait.

Contact an Attorney

If you're applying for permanent partial disability (PPD) workers' comp benefits or you want to appeal a denial of benefits, contact an experienced workers' comp attorney for individualized guidance.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need professional help? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Make the Most of Your Claim

Get the compensation you deserve.

We've helped 265 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you