The law in Indiana provides injured workers with three forms of disability pay: Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), and Permanent Total Disability (PTD).
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Permanent total disability is a situation where an injured worker is unable to perform reasonable forms of work activity following his or her work accident. In other words, the individual is not capable of sustaining even the most limited work activities, like doing a sit down job, as a result of his or her work injuries. This type of disability takes into account the following about the injured worker:
- Mental well-being
- Physical impairment
- Work experience & acquired skills
- Level of education or specialized training (including military training)
- Capacity to function after released from medical care
According to the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s Guide to Indiana Worker’s Compensation, when a vocational doctor says that the injured worker will NEVER be able to work again in ANY REASONABLE employment within society, then he or she is entitled to a total of 500 weeks of pay at the rate of 66 2/3% of the pre-injury average weekly wage OR the amount payable for his or her impairment, whichever of the two totals up to be the greater amount. This means that if you have received lost wages up to the point that you are found to be permanently and totally disabled, the number of weeks that you were already paid will be subtracted from the 500 week maximum.
A fifty-six year old male migrant worker, whose first language is Spanish, is involved in an industrial accident and loses his right leg. He now has a 100% permanent impairment rating to his lower extremity. Given the factors previously noted, this man would likely be limited in his ability to find other employment and may in fact, be unable to find any other reasonable employment after his accident.
If, however, the same incident happened to a fifty-six year old male attorney, who also received a 100% permanent impairment rating to his right lower extremity, is is less likely that he would qualify for PTD benefits because he would probably be able to do another form of work despite his impairment.
Determining PTD Eligibility
A vocational expert will most likely be called on to help make the permanent and total disability determination for the injured worker. A psychologist may also be needed to evaluate the worker’s state of mind.
The Second Injury Fund is available to employees injured on the job with resulting permanent and total disabilities. Those who apply and are accepted will receive additional income after the 500 week maximum. For more information regarding this fund, you can learn more here.