All across the country, there are people who have been injured to such an extent that they believe they qualify for Total Permanent Disability (TPD) benefits. The term or acronym is most commonly used in the insurance and legal industries. Generally speaking, if a person qualifies and takes advantage of Total Permanent Disability, it means he/she is permanently ill (suffering from a crippling incurable disease, condition or disorder) or permanently wounded thus, the individual is (cognitively and/or physically) unable to work in their own pre-existing and proven field of expertise. The same is true if he/she is able to prove an inability to work in any related occupational capacity he/she might also be well suited for as a result of prior training, education, or hands on experience.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or has been permanently incapacitated and expect you will never be able to return to your job or career then, you may be thinking that you can expect to receive TPD benefits. If the status of your condition is as a result of your job then, you will most likely qualify for Worker’s Compensation.
It is important to know that TPD is an insurance policy created to replace part of your lost wages (payments distributed are a percentage of your usual wages). This coverage is only an option if you (or your employer) purchased the insurance and kept up with the premium payments. And, the benefits are only payable to employees who are permanently impaired to the extent they are totally unable to work in his/her chosen profession. The benefits are not dispensed if/when the disability is deemed as “temporary” or the employee may, at any point in the future, be able to return to work.
The standard definition/explanation of TPD is as follows:
1. Legally, a permanent disability is one that “will remain with a person throughout” his or her lifetime or he/she will not recover and “in all possibility, the disability will continue indefinitely.”
2. Insurance companies typically use definitions that include (a) Loss of two eyes, arms or legs AND (b) Absence from work for six months (or more) is due to an accident or illness – without expectation of returning to work.
There is also the possibility of claiming total permanent disability insurance benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration. Keep in mind that, unlike Workers’ Compensation, which is governed by state laws, Social Security Disability (SSD or SSI) is Total Permanent Disability Insurance managed by the U.S. Federal government.
Unlike private total permanent disability insurance, the US Social Security Administration does not define totally disabled as unable to perform any work. You can work when you apply for disability benefits through the program and you can work after you are awarded distributions.
The US Social Security Administration considers an individual totally disabled only if he or she is unable to earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount for a given year. The SGA amount is updated annually to reflect inflation and cost of living increases.
If an injury from work makes it impossible to do your job for 6 calendar months or more, then you may be entitled to weekly TPD benefits. Benefits are not paid unless a Court determines that you were totally disabled for more than 180 days. In that event, TPD benefits are payable from the first day. Also, TPD benefits may be distributed without a Court order.
The benefit amount is determined on a scale or percentage of wages. If you have questions about disability and how to make a disability claim, Contact Our Oklahoma City Injury Firm. Our disability attorneys are happy to answer your questions.