Many people get a little confused when they start receiving permanent partial disability benefit (PPD) checks. One of the main reasons for confusion is they do not understand why they are receiving these checks or how long they will last.
Hopefully, this article will give you a better understanding of how long you will receive PPD checks. Before we get into that though, it helps to have a good understanding of what PPD benefits are.
Why am I receiving permanent partial disability benefits?
Permanent partial disability benefits are the way that Georgia workers compensation pays you for permanent impairment that you suffer as a result of an injury at work. In order for you to start receiving these benefits, usually two things have to happen:
- You reach maximum medical improvement (also known as MMI), and
- You are not currently receiving temporary total disability or temporary partial disability benefits
In Georgia, doctors give you what is called a permanent partial disability rating. That rating is a percent impairment to a particular part of your body. It will be given one of two ways:
- To your body as a whole, or
- To a specific part of your body (such as the hand, upper extremity, lower extremity, etc.)
In a Georgia workers compensation case, doctors are required to use a specific book that is published by the American Medical Association when giving you this rating. That book is called the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Doctors are required to use the fifth edition of that book.
When do my permanent partial disability benefits stop?
How long your receive permanent partial disability benefits depends on two things:
- What part of your body is rated, and
- The percentage of the rating
If an insurance company has started paying you permanent partial disability benefits, they should have filed a Form WC-2. That form should give you some information that will help you calculate when your permanent partial disability benefits will stop.
On the form, the insurance company will indicate the PPD rating given to you by the doctor. It should specify the percentage of the rating and the body part rated. They should also attach a copy of the medical record from the doctor that gave you the PPD rating so you can make sure it is right.
The insurance company should also fill in the number of weeks of benefits that they are going to pay to you and when the benefits are going to start. So, you can use this information to calculate when your benefits should stop.
What if the insurance company does not file a Form WC-2?
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always follow the workers compensation rules. When the insurance company does not follow the rules, they can face penalties and attorney’s fees.
Even if the insurance company does not follow the rules, you can still determine when your PPD checks will stop. Knowing how to do this will also help you make sure that the insurance company did the calculations right.
You do this by determining the number of weeks of benefits that you will receive based on the rating that you get from your doctor. Each type of rating has a certain amount of weeks of benefits associated with it. I am going to discuss the most common rating in this article, but there are others as well.
The most common type of PPD rating is to the body as a whole. A 100 percent rating to the body as a whole is worth 300 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits.
What that really means is that every percent that you are rated to the body as a whole entitles you to three weeks of PPD benefits. For example, if your doctor gives you a 10% permanent partial disability rating to the body as a whole, you’ll receive 30 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits. That would be three weeks of benefits for every one percent that the doctor rates you.
Can I get temporary total disability benefits again after I start receiving PPD benefits?
Yes. You can still receive temporary total disability benefits again. You could also potentially receive temporary partial disability benefits.
To receive PPD benefits, you cannot currently be receiving either temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits. But, something could happen in your case that entitled you to these benefits again.
The most common thing that would happen is your doctor taking you out of work. This could happen if you need surgery or if your condition worsens.
There is one very important thing that you need to know about both temporary total disability benefits and temporary partial disability benefits. Georgia law has a statute of limitations which can bar your right to receive either of these benefits if you go to long without receiving them.