When a worker is injured or becomes ill as a result of her employment, she is entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation benefits pay for medical care as well as provide a weekly monetary benefit while the claimant is under a doctor's care. Once the claimant has reached the point at which she is expected to improve, known as maximum medical improvement (MMI), a decision will be made regarding whether she is entitled to permanent benefits. If it is determined that she meets the requirements for permanent total disability, she does not receive a settlement but will receive permanent total disability benefits for life.
Gather earnings information for the claimant for the past 52 weeks.
Add up all the earnings during the 52-week period.
Divide the total earnings by 52 unless you did not work for the employer for the entire 52 weeks. If you did not work for the entire 52 weeks, then divide your total earnings by the number of weeks you worked. The result is your average weekly wage (AWW).
Calculate your permanent total disability (PTD) benefit by taking your AWW and multiplying it by 0.667, or 66-2/3 percent. The result is your weekly PTD benefit.
When determining the AWW, the claimant may include income from a second job if the employer was aware of the second job.
If the claimant only worked for the employer for a short time, the commission may consider what another person in the same job would have made during the previous 52 weeks when determining the AWW.
The PTD benefits may increase each year to reflect the cost of living increase.
Overtime pay is not usually included when determining the AWW unless you regularly worked overtime.
Maximum and minimum PTD benefits apply and are subject to change. As of June, 2011, the maximum PTD benefit is $1,243.00 and the minimum is $466.13.