A lot of workers recover from work-related injuries. But some have lasting problems that affect their ability to work again. If you are unable to return to work due to a work-related injury, then you may be entitled to receive permanent disability (PD) benefits under California Worker’s Compensation Law.
For you to be eligible for PD benefits, your treating doctor must first determine that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is when you reach the point where your condition is not improving (or getting worse). If this happens, your treating doctor will write a permanent & stationary (P&S) report. The P&S report will then be sent to your claims administrator.
The P&S report will undergo a rating process. This process translates your treating doctor’s report into a percentage, which will be considered as your PD rating. Ratings are based on your medical condition, age, occupation when injured, how much your occupation caused your injury, and an adjustment factor. Because your PD rating will determine the amount (benefits) you may receive, it is important to understand it thoroughly with the help of a lawyer and challenge it if you disagree.
A 100% rating means that you have a total permanent disability. But it is rare and is reserved for the most serious injuries. If your rating falls between 1% and 99%, that means you have a partial permanent disability.
Once you have your final PD rating, you may now calculate the amount that you will receive. Generally, you may receive up to 2/3 of your weekly wages but it may vary depending on the date of your injury. The length of time that you will receive weekly PD benefits also depends on your PD rating and the date of your injury.
After your PD benefits end, you may also be entitled to a life pension. The amount given for a life pension is relatively low, and you may only receive this benefit if your PD rating is 70% and higher.