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Hyberg, White & Mann Law Firm
       

TOTAL PERMANENT DISABILITY BENEFITS IN NEW JERSEY

Sadly, some work accidents or occupational exposures result in complete and permanent inability to resume employment of any kind, with or without accommodations. For those rendered Totally and Permanently Disabled from working, due solely to the occupational injuries or in combination with pre-existing disabilities, NJ law provides for the payment of the following benefits:

  • Permanent Total Disability Compensation (PTD); and
  • Free future Medical Treatment necessitated by the work injuries.

The monetary weekly rate at which non-taxable permanent total disability (PTD) is paid corresponds to the claimant’s maximum benefit rate of 70% of his/her applicable gross average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum rate set each year by the State of NJ. The minimum and maximum compensation rates for the last 5 years are set below:

  • 2011      $211.00      $792.00
  • 2012      $216.00      $810.00
  • 2013      $220.00      $826.00
  • 2014      $225.00      $843.00
  • 2015      $228.00      $855.00

The payable rate is also subject to an offset available to employers and WC insurance companies/Funds where Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits are being paid as well. Generally, the totally disabled are permitted to collect both WC payments and SSDI benefits but the combination cannot exceed a certain figure which is determined by Social Security based on the individual’s earnings record. Regardless of the potential offset, the combined benefit in most cases is higher than simply collecting either WC or SSDI alone.

An award of Permanent Total Disability in workers' compensation continues for life unless the claimant returns to some form of gainful employment or is later determined to have recovered sufficiently enough so as to permit a return to employment in some capacity. Unlike Social Security Disability beneficiaries who are permitted to engage in limited employment while receiving SSDI, a totally disabled person receiving WC PTD cannot work in any capacity whatsoever and legally cash PTD checks as this may well give rise to an allegation of insurance fraud because that person has been deemed completely unable to work.

Additionally, totally disabled workers are entitled to have the costs of future medical treatment necessitated by the occupational injury or disease covered by the employer or its WC insurance company/Fund. There are no co-pays, deductibles, limits or balance bills to worry about for authorized and related medical charges. However, pre-authorization is needed except in emergency situations when advance authorization is impossible to obtain.

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