Injured workers can receive permanent partial disability benefits to compensate them for wage loss when they are out of work and recovering. If you are eligible for permanent partial disability benefits, you may hear about the concept of apportioning benefits.
Determining how much in PPD benefits you can receive usually is very complicated. A percentage of “disability” is assigned to the whole body depending on which physical limitations you have due to your injuries. The percentage cannot be more than 100% of the whole body for each injury. There are schedules for certain types of injuries that can help in choosing the percentage. That percentage is multiplied by a number of weeks or a dollar amount to determine the amount of benefits.
In some situations, the amount of PPD available to a worker will be reduced if he or she has a pre-existing permanent partial disability. This is called apportionment or apportioning. Apportionment is permitted if the following conditions are met:
- Date of the injury leading to the current PPD was after January 1, 1984;
- The pre-existing injury is clearly documented in medical records;
- The medical records existed prior to the date of injury leading to the current PPD;
- The pre-existing disability is congenital or the result of an injury or accident; and
- The pre-existing disability is a contributing factor to the current PPD rating/percentage.
Pre-existing disabilities to completely different parts of the body do not qualify for apportionment. Your PPD could not be apportioned if you have been missing a finger since childhood, but you then hurt your leg in an industrial accident.
If your pre-existing condition qualifies for PPD apportionment, another complicated method is used to determine the benefits you will receive. This will depend somewhat on whether the pre-existing disability was work-related and had a rating/percentage assigned to it at the time of the previous injury. If there was no previous rating, the current schedules for injuries will be used to determine a rating. If there was a previous rating, that rating will be used.
Essentially, apportionment reduces the benefits amount by the rating of the pre-existing disability. For example, if the current PPD rating is 30 percent disability of your whole body, and the rating for the pre-existing disability that contributed to that rating is 10 percent, then apportionment results in a rating of 20 percent. But again, calculating these ratings can be very complicated. You may need legal help to get the benefits you deserve.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.