Sep 22, 2020

Permanent Disability Benefits – Do They Last Forever?

When you are informed that you are eligible to receive permanent disability benefits after being unable to return to work due to a serious injury, you might understandably think that permanent means “forever.” However, this is not always the case. In fact, many people who get permanent disability benefits are shocked to find out that they will likely end eventually.

When Do “Permanent” Benefits End?

The time limit to your permanent disability benefits depends on where you live. Hansford McDaniel – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys is located in Atlanta, so we will focus on how permanent disability benefits work in Georgia. In our state, most disabled workers are entitled to up to 400 weeks of benefits, which is a long time but obviously not as long as forever.

Benefits made available through permanent disability coverage include:

  • Wage benefits: Georgia allows a disabled worker to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage, with a current cap of $675.
  • Medical benefits: All medical treatments needed for your work-related disability should be covered. There should be no deductible that you need to pay, and no bills should be sent to you.

Catastrophic Injuries Extend Your Benefits

When your disability is evaluated by a medical professional, they will assign a disability percentage. If your disability is significant and the percentage is high, then it can be considered “catastrophic.” People with catastrophic disabilities could be entitled to lifetime disability benefits beyond the usual 400-week limitation. An example of a catastrophic disability could be total paralysis, brain damage, or multiple amputations.

Social Security Disability Benefits & Retirement

It is important to note that disability benefits provided through the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits have no set expiration date. The previously mentioned limitations apply to disability benefits provided through a private insurer, such as what you can receive through the scope of your employment. When the SSA is providing you benefits, you can continue to receive them for as long as you are considered disabled.

Your SSA disability benefits can end if:

  • Your disability ends: Once every 2 or 5 years, your disability will be reevaluated. If a doctor believes your health has improved and you can work again, then your SSA disability benefits will not be renewed.
  • You reach retirement age: When you reach the retirement age set by the SSA – currently set at 67 – your disability benefits will end and you will become eligible for retirement benefits instead. You will need to apply for these benefits, though.

Want help figuring out if you can get permanent disability benefits? Call 770-922-3660 to schedule a free initial consultation with the attorneys of Hansford McDaniel – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Atlanta.