How do I qualify for permanent total disability benefits under Florida's workers' compensation system?

work_compensationIf your on-the-job injuries prevent you from returning to your former position and you're unable to work in any capacity, you may be eligible to receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits through workers’ compensation.

However, it's difficult to qualify for these kinds of benefits, since only claimants with catastrophic injuries or those incapable of employment are eligible for permanent total benefits.

Permanent Total Disability Under the Florida Workers’ Comp System

In order to qualify for permanent disability benefits, you must have suffered a work-related injury that has reached a state of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means your condition is unlikely to improve even if you undergo more treatment in the future. You must also be unemployed and not physically capable of engaging in any type of sedentary employment.

In Florida, an injured employee may be presumed to be permanently and totally disabled if she or he has suffered:

  • A spinal cord injury resulting in severe paralysis of at least one arm, one leg, or the trunk
  • Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg equaling the loss of use of that appendage
  • Serious brain or closed-head injury resulting in significant sensory disturbances, motor dysfunctions, communication problems, episodic neurological disorders, or complex integrated disturbances of brain function
  • Second-degree or third-degree burns on at least 25 percent of the total body surface, or third-degree burns of five percent or more to the face and hands
  • Total or industrial blindness

If you haven't suffered one of these conditions, you may still be eligible for PTD benefits if you can prove your injury restrictions prevent you from engaging in sedentary-level employment within a 50-mile radius of your home. In most cases, PTD determination are made by examining the worker’s injury records, restrictions, transferable skills available, and whether he or she engaged in a good faith job search.

If you're awarded PTD, you can receive a payment of two-thirds of your average weekly wages for as long as your disability continues until you reach age 75. Our Florida workers' compensation attorneys can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove your disability claim. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation at no cost to you.