You may receive temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits after a work injury. Many people receive both of these benefits.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always pay these benefits at the correct time or in the correct amounts. Insurance companies often fail to even tell you that the type of benefits you are receiving has changed. This is very frustrating if you are trying to make sure you have received the workers compensation benefits you should.
Most people just want to receive the benefits to which they are entitled under the law. But, how do you do this when the insurance company does not even explain what they are paying you?
Temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits are especially confusing because the weekly amount of these benefits should be the same. So, many people do not even understand that they are receiving a different type of benefit when they switch from temporary total disability to permanent partial disability and back.
This article attempts to provide some helpful information about the similarities and differences between temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits under Georgia’s workers compensation law.
There are other types of workers compensation benefits you will want to understand as well. The two most important of these other benefits for you to know about are:
What is the main difference between temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits?
The big difference between these two benefits is why you receive them. Temporary total disability benefits are wage loss benefits. The insurance company has to pay them when you cannot work because of your injury.
Permanent partial disability benefits compensate you for a different type loss. You receive these benefits because your injury causes a permanent impairment to your body which results in a loss of function.
How are temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits alike?
There are two primary similarities between temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits.
The insurance company pays you these benefits weekly
Georgia workers compensation law requires the insurance company to pay both these benefits weekly. So, you should receive a weekly benefit check when you are receiving these benefits.
Occasionally, the insurance company will pay permanent partial disability benefits in a lump sum. When this happens, they really are just paying the weekly benefits in advance. So, they are just paying you a number of weeks of benefits at one time.
The amount of the weekly benefits is the same
In Georgia, the weekly check you receive for temporary total disability should be the same amount as your permanent partial disability benefit check. The amount you will receive depends on how much you made in the three months before your injury.
Using this amount, the insurance company should calculate your average weekly wage. Your temporary total disability and permanent partial disability checks are usually two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
If your permanent partial disability benefit amount is different than your temporary total disability amount, the insurance company has messed up somehow. This is not uncommon. I run into many situations where insurance companies pay temporary total disability and permanent partial disability benefits in the wrong amount. There are actions that can be taken to fix this.
How do I know what type of benefit I am receiving?
Because of how similar these benefits are, you will probably find it difficult to determine which type of benefit the insurance company is paying you. Here are some tips that may help you with that problem.
- Georgia law requires the insurance company to file a Form WC-1 or Form WC-2 saying the type of benefit. But, the insurance company does not always do this.
- Your check may indicate the type of benefit. It may say something like “temporary total” or permanent partial”. It might also say “TTD” or “TT” (abbreviations for temporary total disability) or “PPD” or “PP” (abbreviations for permanent partial disability).
- The check stub that comes with your check may also have information on it about the type of benefit paid by the insurance company.
- If your doctor has you out of work because of your injury, the weekly benefit is probably temporary total disability. If your doctor gave you a permanent partial disability rating and you have returned to work, the benefit is probably permanent partial disability.
Can I receive temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits at the same time?
Georgia law almost never allows you to receive temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits at the same time. In fact, the insurance company does not have to pay you permanent partial disability benefits until you stop receiving temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits.
Occasionally, people do receive permanent partial and temporary total disability benefits at the same time. Usually, the only situation where this happens is when someone returns to work while receiving permanent partial disability benefits and then suffers another work injury.
Why does it matter which type of benefit I receive?
It is very important to know what type of benefit you are receiving. One of the main reasons this is so important is that Georgia’s workers compensation law has many different deadlines known as statutes of limitations. These statutes provide deadlines for getting additional benefits. Missing these deadlines can cause you to lose most or all of your workers compensation benefits.
The change in condition statute of limitations only provide you two years to get additional temporary total disability and temporary partial disability benefits. This deadline runs from the last time you received temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits.
If you currently receive temporary total disability benefits, that two year deadline gets “extended” with each TTD check you receive. But, if you currently receive permanent partial disability benefits, those checks do not extend the two year deadline.
Many people do not realize that their temporary total disability benefits have stopped and that they have started receiving permanent partial disability benefits. This can create terrible situations when someone has ongoing permanent restrictions as a result of a serious injury since these injuries often make it difficult to return to work.