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Workers Compensation: Disability Benefits vs. Specific Loss Benefits

Disability Benefits Compensate for Lost Wages

If you miss time from work as a result of your work injury, you are entitled to wage loss benefits or “disability” benefits.  There are 2 types of disability benefits:  total and partial.   If you are unable to work due to your work injury, you are entitled to total disability benefits under workers’ compensation. These benefits are generally calculated as two-thirds of your average weekly wage, with some exceptions.  If you are able to return to work, but are not earning your average weekly wage as a result of your work injury, you may be entitled to partial disability benefits.  These benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the difference between your preinjury wages and your current wages.

Specific Loss Benefits Compensate for Loss of Use or Disfigurement

Even if you don’t miss time from work for your injury, you may still be entitled to specific loss benefits. These benefits compensate for a permanent loss of use of a body part (such as a finger, hand, arm, toe, foot or leg) or for permanent disfigurement of the head, face or neck as result of your work injury.  The amount of specific loss benefits to which you are entitled depends on the part of the body which has been injured (for loss of use/amputation claims) or may be determined by a workers’ compensation judge (for disfigurement claims).  In either case, the amount of the specific loss benefits will be paid at two-thirds of your average weekly wage for a number of weeks determined either by law or by a workers’ compensation judge.

Please note that any disability (wage loss) benefits you have already received for your work injury will be deducted from your specific loss benefit award. 

Determining the amount and type of workers compensation benefits to which you are entitled can be complicated.  Our experienced workers comp lawyers have an extensive knowledge of the laws that establish the type and amount of workers compensation benefits available to you.  Please contact us today.