Whenever any type of benefit is calculated, whether it be temporary disability or permanent disability, your average weekly wage is relied upon. This sets the basis for calculating your temporary disability rate, which is two-thirds of your average weekly wage, and also to calculate your permanent disability benefits. However, permanent disability benefits are often much lower than temporary disability. The reason for this is that permanent disability is to compensate you for diminished future earning capacity you sustained from your work injury. Whereas, temporary disability is higher as that is a benefit to support your wage loss while you are not working.
Permanent disability begins when your doctor has released you back to work or you have reached a permanent and stationary status (also referred to maximum medical improvement), whichever occurs first.
Your permanent disability rate is based upon several factors. First, there are statutory minimums and maximums based upon the Labor Code. There may be different rates depending on the date of your injury. If your injury is in 2014, the minimum rate is $160 per week and the maximum is $290 per week. In order to determine whether you receive the minimum rate, maximum rate, or somewhere in between, your average weekly earnings is used to determine your permanent disability value.
For instance if you made less than $160 per week for a 2014 date of injury, your permanent disability rate would be $160 per week, even though you averaged less than that rate per week. That is the statutory minimum rate set forth by the Labor Code. However, if you earned $1,000 per week, your permanent disability rate would be at the maximum $290 per week rate.
Depending on the year of your injury, the rate can vary. The years 2014, 2015, and 2016, have the same minimum and maximum rates as discussed above. However, if you were injured in 2013, the permanent disability rate has different minimum and maximum rates. For that particular year, depending on your percentage of disability, your rate can vary anywhere from the minimum $160 rate up through $290 week. However, in order to reach $290 week, your disability must be 70% or higher. To receive $270 per week, your disability must be 55% to 69%. In order to receive $230 per week, your disability must be from 1% to 54%.
The above examples are basic principles of determining your permanent disability rate. However, if you ever have questions about your specific rate and whether you are receiving the correct amount, you can always discuss this with the claims examiner or your attorney.
If you have questions about your case and wish to discuss those with an attorney in Fresno, feel free to call us at 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.
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