The Different Types of Disability in Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is an essential system that provides benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses while on the job. In Virginia, as in other states, workers’ compensation laws aim to provide financial assistance for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from work-related disabilities. When it comes to workers’ comp, there are different types of disabilities that an employee may experience, each entailing specific eligibility requirements and benefits. This article will explore the various categories of disability covered under Virginia’s workers’ compensation law.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Temporary Total Disability, often abbreviated as TTD, refers to a condition where an injured worker is entirely unable to work for a temporary period due to the job-related injury or illness. Claiming TTD benefits requires providing medical evidence that the injured worker cannot perform any work during the recovery period. Workers eligible for TTD benefits receive a portion of their average weekly wage (AWW) for the duration of their disability, generally up to 500 weeks, subject to certain exceptions.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

Temporary Partial Disability, or TPD, applies to situations in which an employee can perform some types of work but cannot fulfill their regular job duties due to the work-related condition. In Virginia, individuals who experience a TPD receive compensation equal to two-thirds of the difference between their pre-injury average weekly wage and their post-injury wage-earning capacity. This benefit is usually payable for up to 500 weeks from the date of the injury.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

Permanent Total Disability, also known as PTD, occurs when an employee sustains a work-related injury or illness that completely and permanently prevents them from engaging in any gainful employment. To qualify for PTD benefits in Virginia, an injured worker must prove the inability to return to any form of suitable employment through medical evidence. PTD benefits provide compensation at two-thirds of the employee’s AWW for life, or until applicable statutory limitations arise.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

Permanent Partial Disability, referred to as PPD, is applicable when an injured employee suffers a permanent impairment that affects their ability to perform certain job functions. Virginia’s law assigns a specific number of weeks to different body parts and calculates compensation based on this duration. For instance, a lost thumb may warrant 60 weeks of compensation, while a lost hearing in one ear may result in 35 weeks. The exact number of weeks assigned to each body part or function is outlined in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act (Va. Code Ann. § 65.2-503).

Schedule Loss Benefits (SLB)

Schedule Loss Benefits, or SLB, is a category of benefits within permanent partial disability specifically for the loss or loss of use of certain body parts. It provides compensation based on a predetermined number of weeks set by law. For example, the amputation of a hand may entitle the injured worker to 140 weeks of benefits. These benefits are payable in addition to any other workers’ compensation disability benefits the employee may receive.

Disfigurement

Disfigurement is considered a separate category of workers’ compensation benefits. In Virginia, an injured worker may receive compensation for any permanent and unsightly disfigurement resulting from the work-related injury or treatment. The amount of compensation granted under disfigurement benefits varies depending on the severity and location of the disfigurement.

It’s crucial to note that workers’ compensation claims and the associated benefits can be complex, involving specific eligibility requirements, medical evidence, and legal considerations. It’s recommended to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the claims process effectively.

In conclusion, workers’ compensation in Virginia covers a range of disability types, each with unique eligibility criteria and benefits available. From temporary total and partial disabilities to permanent total and partial disabilities, as well as schedule loss benefits and disfigurement benefits, injured workers have avenues for financial support and medical assistance. Understanding these distinct categories is invaluable for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses and seek the compensation they deserve.