If you have a job-related injury, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Ratings for either a disability or an impairment tell the insurance company how your injury impacts your ability to resume work and day-to-day activities.
A difference in ratings
Workers’ compensation programs define “disability” as a reduced wage-earning ability because of a work-related injury or occupational disease. The American Medical Association sees “impairment” as an alteration in health or a change in normal bodily functioning.
If the physician you see has the appropriate certification, he or she will assign a disability or impairment rating according to the level of impact it has on the activities associated with daily living. The doctor will not provide a disability rating until you reach maximum medical improvement. Each state has different requirements for certification. For example, in many states, only specialists with certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties can provide impairment ratings.
Types of disability
The four types of disability are:
Temporary total disability: the employee usually returns to work without receiving workers’ compensation benefits
Temporary partial disability: the employee receives benefits for an impairment that prevents the return to full-time work, requiring part-time or less demanding work
Permanent partial disability: the employee returns to work despite a permanent impairment
Permanent total disability: the employee is severely impaired and can never return to work
Filing a claim
Your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits depends on the type of injury or condition you have. If you qualify to file a claim, the benefits you receive could include compensation to cover your medical expenses, continuing therapy or rehabilitation, a portion of your lost wages and more.