What Are Permanent Total Disability Benefits Under Georgia Workers' Compensation?

There is no category of Georgia Worker’s Compensation benefits called Permanent Total Disability Benefits, but it is possible to get benefits for a total disability on a permanent basis for a qualifying catastrophic injury or for loss of or loss of use of more than one major member of your body.

To speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.

The Four Kinds of Worker’s Compensation Benefits in Georgia

Georgia has four different types of benefits for people who sustain qualifying injuries on the job. The four benefit categories are:

Temporary Total Disability Benefits. An employee with a work-related injury who cannot work at all while recuperating can collect Temporary Total Disability benefits. The authorized treating physician must certify that the employee cannot work.

The weekly check will be two-thirds of the employee’s average wage as of the time of the accident, up to the legal maximum. Most people can only receive the benefits for a total of 400 weeks from the date of the injury.

Those with catastrophic injuries have no limit on the number of weeks that they can collect these benefits, so for these people, the benefits can be permanent in duration.

If at any time a person receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits, whether for a catastrophic injury or a non-catastrophic injury, recuperates to the point at which she can go back to work, the Temporary Total Disability benefits will stop. The authorized treating physician can certify you to return to work, even if you have to take a lower-paying job or work fewer hours.

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits. Sometimes people can return to work after an injury, but because of the injury, they cannot work as many hours, or they have to take a job that pays less. In this situation, Georgia worker’s compensation will pay Temporary Partial Disability Benefits to help make up the difference in income.

These benefits only cover two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s previous injury and current income. Also, these benefits have a time limit. You can only collect these benefits for up to 350 weeks following the injury. If you already collected Temporary Total Disability Benefits for 350 weeks or longer, you will not qualify for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits. If you experience residual impairment from your injury, you might qualify for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits.

Your authorized treating physician (worker’s compensation doctor) will evaluate you to see if you fall within the American Medical Association’s guidelines for loss of or loss of the use of a body member, such as a hand, a leg, your hearing, or your sight. Georgia statutes designate the number of weeks for which you can receive benefits for your partial impairment.

Your weekly benefits will be two-thirds of your regular wages. You will get the checks for the number of weeks the law dictates.

For example, you can receive weekly benefits for 225 weeks for the loss of or loss of the use of an arm. The loss of vision in one eye qualifies for 150 weeks of benefits.

Death Benefits. Eligible dependents like minor children or a dependent spouse can receive worker’s compensation benefits for the death of an employee from a work-related injury. The benefits are two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average wages up to the legal maximum. Worker’s compensation will also pay a limited amount of funeral expenses for death from an injury on the job.

Qualifying Circumstances for Total Disability Benefits on a Permanent Basis

If you lose both of your arms, hands, feet, or legs, or any combination of two of these body parts, there is a rebuttable presumption that you qualify for the payment of total disability benefits on a permanent basis. Losing your vision permanently in both eyes also qualifies you for this type of compensation.

You will get the same amount every week that you would for Temporary Total Disability. Your benefits will be unlimited in duration. In other words, they will not expire 400 weeks after the work-related injury.