Disability law is a rather complicated legal area: Though any disability has a negative impact on your life and your work, the law distinguishes between disabilities that are total and those that are partial. Whether your disability is total or partial has implications for what type of compensation you may be eligible to receive, and what benefits you could receive in the future. Regardless of the type of disability, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer if you need to file for workers’ comp or SSD benefits.
The Difference Between Total and Partial Disabilities
Total disability is defined as any disability that completely prevents you from being gainfully employed. If you cannot perform your former job, but are able to perform a less demanding job, your case may not be categorized as a total disability case. To demonstrate a total disability will require extensive medical evidence showing that you cannot work due to your condition. Often, this involves the loss of both legs, arms, hands, eyes, or another body part that is vital to most jobs. It may also involve evidence that shows that you would work if you were able.
Partial disability, on the other hand, means that you can still work in some capacity. Certainly, you won’t be able to perform the same tasks as you did in the past, but you may be able to continue at your old job if it can be modified, or you may need to change to a less physically demanding job.
Total and partial disabilities can prove to be permanent or temporary. A permanent disability is an illness or physical condition that goes beyond a passing condition, like a broken leg – instead, it impedes or prevents your ability to work indefinitely. A disability need not be total to be permanent. Indeed, a great many workers’ compensation benefits cases in New Jersey involve permanent partial disabilities. Some disabled workers are even considered by the government to be totally, though temporarily, disabled.
What to Do If Your Disability Is Interfering With Your Work
Workers can receive compensation for disabilities regardless of whether those disabilities are total or partial (and whether or not they are permanent). The Social Security Administration dispenses benefits to those who are totally disabled. For the purposes of Social Security, this is defined as unable to earn more than the substantial gainful activity amount, and whether the disability is permanent. If it is permanent, the beneficiary will need to demonstrate in an ongoing way that the disability is still preventing employment.
Those with a partial disability may receive workers’ compensation if the disability was caused by work duties. In certain rare cases, workers may have the right to file a lawsuit to pursue damages.
If you are unable to work, or cannot earn as much as you used to because of a disability, you may be entitled to compensation. It’s important to take action early, since filing a claim takes time. There are systems in place to get you the help you need in order to get by. To learn more about compensation and benefits for disabilities, contact us at Petro Cohen, P.C. for a free phone consultation.