How to Qualify for Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

About 200,000 work-related injuries are reported every year in Illinois. Workers’ compensation claims are filed on about 45,000 of these injuries. However, not all injuries are compensated at the same level, based for the most part on how badly the worker was injured. Ability to recover and return to work is a factor also. For example, a worker named Harold W. lost his right arm due to a construction site accident. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (the “Commission”) may consider Harold for permanent partial disability benefits. So, what kind of other injuries might fall into the category of permanent partial disability and what type of benefits are available?

Permanent Partial Disability Explained

The Commission has put together a handbook about workers’ compensation benefits (the “Handbook”). The section on permanent partial disability (“PPD”) benefits states:

PPD is:

  1. a) the complete or partial loss of a part of the body; or
  2. b) the complete or partial loss of use of a part of the body; or
  3. c) the partial loss of use of the body as a whole.

The term “loss of use” usually means that the worker is now unable to do the things he or she could before becoming injured.

The injured worker must achieve maximum medical improvement (“MMI”) before the Commission will make a PPD determination. The term “partial disability” generally means the worker has a permanent disability or disfigurement but is still able to work.

For example, an employee may have permanent hearing loss caused by her job at a manufacturing plant. The Commission may decide she has a permanent disability but that she could work at jobs that don’t require hearing. Other examples of PPD include carpal tunnel syndrome or amputation.

Benefits for Permanent Partial Disability

The Handbook describes four different types of PPD benefits available to workers injured on the job:

  1. Wage Differential. A worker who takes a job that pays less than his or her previous job because of their PPD may receive wage differential benefits. This typically is two thirds of the difference between the old wage and the new wage.
  2. Schedule of Injuries. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”) sets a certain value on parts of the body, which determines how many weeks of compensation the worker receives. Values may range from 10% for loss of a thumb to 100% for amputation of a limb.
  3. Non-schedule injuries (person as a whole). Workers may suffer injuries that don’t appear on the Act’s schedule. However, the worker may still receive benefits because, instead of losing one body part, the loss is considered to be “loss of a person as a whole.”
  4. Disfigurement. This type of injury involves a serious, permanent disfigurement to the head, face, neck, chest above the armpits, arm, hand, or leg below the knee. Examples of this type of injury may include surgery scars, scars from the work-related incident, or burns.

Speak with an Experienced Illinois Workers’ Comp Attorney

With over 20 years’ experience, Osvaldo Rodriguez has the skills to handle your case from start to finish. To schedule your free initial consultation, or just ask a question, call us at 708-716-3441 or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.

Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.

We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Cook, DuPage, Will, and Kane Counties.

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