BLOG: TOTAL AND PERMANENT DISABILITY and SPECIFIC LOSS INJURIES
The legislature has created a special category of disability in the Workers’ Compensation Disability Act called permanent and total (P and T) disability or loss.
This category includes the occasion where the worker suffers the loss of any two limbs, eyesight, paralysis of two limbs, incurable insanity/imbecility, or industrial loss of two limbs. See MCL 418.361(3), MCL 418.351. When it is established that these injuries ‘arise out of and in the course of employment’, the worker is conclusively entitled to 800 weeks of wage loss. He will continue to receive these wage loss benefits even if he continues to work and earn wages. After 800 weeks, a determination is made to see if the worker’s wage earning ability is still impaired.
T and P disabled workers are entitled to receive from their employers the same amount of benefits they would be entitled to for a general disability which is 80 percent of the after-tax value of their average weekly wage. For workers who are receiving general disability benefits, their wage loss benefits remain the same based on the year they were injured. However, the T and P disabled worker will receive increases in his wage loss benefits consistent with the annual increases made by the Workers Compensation Agency. The portion reflecting the increase (called a ‘differential’) is paid by a special entity known as the Second Injury Fund.
Specific loss injuries involve those types of accidents where the worker loses a part of his body. MCL 418.361(2). The amount is payable even when the injured worker continues to work. If the worker cannot return to work after the set time designated for the specific loss, he can receive general disability wage loss benefits. Wage loss benefits are specifically set by the legislature representing the number of weeks for the loss of the specific body part. Some examples include:
Loss of thumb 65 weeks
Loss of first finger 38 weeks
Loss of great toe 33 weeks
Hand 215 weeks
Arm 269 weeks
Foot 162 weeks
Leg 215 weeks
Eye 162 weeks.