Can You Work and Still Receive Permanent Total Disability Benefits?
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Can You Work and Still Receive Permanent Total Disability Benefits?

Having a serious work injury may qualify you for permanent total disability benefits. Because these benefits are only 66 2/3 percent of your wage before the injury, you may want to bring in a little extra income. However, getting a new job may disqualify you for some benefits. Because you are able to work, you would indicate to the insurance company that you are not incapacitated enough to receive PTD.

PTD benefits are intended to compensate employees who are totally unable to work. Usually, the employees who qualify have incapacitating injuries such as:

  • Loss of sight in both eyes
  • Loss of both arms at the shoulder
  • Loss of both legs at the hips
  • Complete and permanent paralysis
  • Total and permanent loss of mental faculties.

Other incapacitating injuries may qualify you for PTD. Your incapacity plus your disability ratings may be enough to get you these benefits. For example, if you have at least a 17 percent permanent partial disability (PPD) rating of the whole body, you may qualify. In addition, if you have a PPD rating of at least 15 percent and you are at least 50 years old, or you have a PPD rating of at least 13 percent and you are at least 55 years old and did not graduate from high school, you may qualify.

Most people who receive PTD do not work. In fact, being incapacitated for PTD purposes means that you cannot find anything more than sporadic employment resulting in an insubstantial income. If you are on PTD and you come across a job opportunity, talk to your workers’ compensation lawyer first. Sporadic jobs like babysitting for your neighbors once a month or doing a quick task for a one-time payment could be okay. But you should not risk losing your benefits. Your lawyer can speak to you about the specific job opportunity and whether it would disqualify you under the law.

If you and your doctor decide that you can go back to work because your injury has improved to the point that you are no longer totally disabled, you will need to tell the insurance company. The company may reduce or eliminate your wage loss benefits. Be prepared for this to happen. But if you are making less than you did before the injury, you may be able to secure permanent partial disability benefits instead of the PTD benefits you were receiving.

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.