Permanent Impairment & Disability

Q. What is the difference between a permanent impairment rating and the concept of disability?

A. An impairment rating is a professional opinion offered by your authorized treating physician based on medical evidence and accepted standards. The concept of disability takes that rating one step further – how does the degree of impairment impact on your ability to perform your job? This determination (made by the SC Workers' Compensation Commission) takes into account your level of education, previous job history, and other personal factors that may apply to your unique situation.

Q. If I do not fully recover from my injury, can I receive further benefits although I did return-to-work?

A. Yes, if your authorized treating physician reports that you have a percentage of permanent physical impairment as a result of your injury, you may receive compensation for the resulting disability although you have returned to full-time work.

Q. How and when will I receive benefits for my permanent physical impairment and resulting disability?

A. When your authorized treating physician releases you from his/her care and you have a percentage of physical impairment, SAF will request an Informal Conference with the SC Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC) to determine if you are eligible for additional benefits because of permanent disability. You will be notified by mail of the date, time and location. The Informal Conference is an opportunity for you and a SAF representative to discuss your case with a WCC official to ensure that any settlement of your claim is fair and proper.

Q. How are my permanent disability benefits determined?

A. SC law assigns a maximum value to different body parts. The maximum value would then be multiplied by the percentage (%) of disability assigned by the Workers' Compensation Commission. For example, if you suffered an injury to your left arm which resulted in an award of 10% disability, the settlement would be: 220 wks. (arm) X 10% disability = 22 wks. of compensation. The 22 weeks would then be multiplied by your compensation rate to determine the actual dollar value of your settlement.

Q. If my injury leaves a serious and permanent disfigurement such as an unsightly scar, am I entitled to additional benefits?

A. Yes, if the disfigurement substantially detracts from your appearance and is normally exposed during the course of employment, such as a scar on your face. You cannot receive compensation for disfigurement and disability to the same body part except in cases of serious burns or keloid scars. Any award for disfigurement must be approved by the WCC.

Q. What benefits am I entitled to in the event of my total and permanent disability resulting from my injury?

A. SC law provides a maximum benefit payment equal to 500 weeks (approximately 9 1/2 years) based on your compensation rate, subject to limits set by law. The value of any previous weekly payments for TT or TP benefits will be deducted from the 500 week payment. Paraplegics, quadriplegics and employees who suffer physical brain damage will receive weekly compensation benefits for life.

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