When a work injury prevents a person from continuing their job in a normal capacity, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In general, injuries are classified into one of four categories, but the most severe of the four are those that permanently inhibit a person’s ability to work in any capacity. This type of injury is classified as a permanent and total injury, and it opens the employee up for what’s known as permanent total disability benefits. Below, we dive deeper into how permanent total disability benefits are paid and collected in Minnesota.
Understanding PTD Benefits In Minnesota
If your injury leaves you permanently disabled and you’re unable to find gainful employment other than “sporadic employment resulting in an insubstantial income,” you’ll be eligible for PTD benefits. The amount you’re entitled to receive is based on a number of factors, but the most important factor is the disability rating you’re assigned by your medical provider. Your age and your education level also factor into this determination, but getting a favorable and true disability rating will have the most impact on your award amount.
Medical providers look for a number of different factors in determining a person’s disability rating, so while we can’t provide a specific formula for determining your rating, we can share how Minnesota deems a person eligible for PTD benefits based on their rating. In order to be eligible for PTD benefits, an employee must:
- Have a whole body PPD impairment rating of at least 17%; or
- Have a whole body PPD impairment rating of at least 15% and be at least 50 years old at the time of the injury; or
- Have a whole body PPD impairment rating of at least 13%, be at least 55 years old at the time of the injury, and have not completed grade 12 or earned their GED certificate.
Even though some people have an injury rating over this threshold, they may still be able to find a suitable job that allows them to have a regular income. However, if they are earning less than they were prior to their injury, they may be eligible for wage loss benefits or permanent partial disability benefits. But for the sake of this piece, let’s assume your injuries keep you out of the workforce.
PTD benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of their gross weekly wage prior to their injury. There is a minimum and maximum amount that can be paid through these benefits. The minimum amount is 65 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, which as of 2019 comes to $722.80, the maximum is 100 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, which is currently $1,112.
A lot of injured workers also receive government disability on top of their PTD benefits. Once you’ve received $25,000 in PTD benefits, your regular PTD payments will be reduced by the amount of disability payments you’re receiving from the government, assuming your government benefits are being paid due to the same work injury. PTD benefits will continue to be paid until the worker reaches the age of 67, as the state deems this a presumed retirement date. A worker can challenge this date if they can prove that they would have retired later than 67.
If you need assistance filing for and claiming your PTD benefits, reach out to Dean Margolis and the experienced work injury lawyers at Margolis Law Firm today.