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How Long Will Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last? Partial and Total Disability Under Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law provides the right for injured workers to receive benefits from their employer if they suffered an injury in the course and scope of their employment.  While work injuries are a common occurrence, especially in the industries of Pennsylvania’s transportation, health, and manufacturing industries, many injured employees wonder how long they can expect their benefits to continue.

According to Pennsylvania law, the length of time that benefits will continue depends on the type of injury. Impairment rating is determined by 34 Pa. Code section 123.105.  An Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) is to be conducted in all cases by an evaluating physician, and this determination can result in the following ratings:

Total Disability benefits help employees who are 50% or more impaired by their work-related injuries.  An impairment rating physician determines the extent of the impairment.  After the employee has received their total disability benefits for two years, or a period of approximately 104 weeks, the employer can request a reassessment of the injuries. An examination that reveals that the injuries improved and that the victim is 49% or less impaired typically results in a status change from total disability to partial disability.

Partial Disability refers to employees who are 49% or less impaired, as determined by an impairment rating physician.  Partial disability benefits extend to those workers who can or eventually do return to work at a lower-paying job.  These benefits may continue for up to 500 weeks, or about nine and a half years.

As set forth in section 123.105, injured employees can appeal an adjustment to their benefit status.  In some cases, this adjustment takes place when their status changes from total to partial disability.  Additionally, a presumption of total disability can be rebutted.  For example, an employer may use evidence that a workers’ compensation claimant can perform some work in order to rebut a presumption of total disability.

In another blog post, we discussed how to present a strong case for workers’ compensation. Not only is it important to provide notice of your injury to your employer as soon as possible, but also it is advisable to report the injury in writing. Once an employee is aware of their injury, or should be aware that their injury is work-related, they must file notice within a 21-day or 120-day period.

It is also important to understand that as an injured employee, workers’ compensation benefits may not begin immediately. Employers must report employee accidents to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and it may take a few weeks before the employee begins receiving benefits.

If you or a family member suffered injuries at work in Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  The workers’ compensation attorneys at Needle Law advocate on behalf of injured workers throughout the state. We can help you navigate the claims process and guide you in making decisions about your case. We provide a free consultation and can be reached by calling 570-344-1266 or contacting us online.

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