What does Disability Rating mean?
Disability ratings are assigned by a doctor for injuries sustained by a worker. This rating is used to determine the amount of compensation an employee should receive for their injury. The disability rating represents a percentage of the full body value of the particular body part injured and is supposed to give information about how the disability or impairment will affect the worker's ability to complete daily activities, not including work tasks.
Disability ratings should not be assigned until the injured worker reaches their maximum medical improvement (MMI). It is only at this time that a doctor can accurately determine the degradation of their functional abilities.
In most states, the physician will refer to the AMA's Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to assign a disability rating, although there are states that do not use this process. Eight states including Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin have devised their own state-specific guides for assigning an impairment rating.
Disability ratings for workers' compensation benefits
Disability ratings for work compensation can include temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability and permanent total disability. If a worker is determined to be permanent but partially disabled and they choose to return to work they may be paid a partial amount. For example, in 36 states, a table determines the amount of a permanent partial disability for specific impairments. The remaining states have statutes which outline compensation. A worker who is severely impaired and can never return to work will be paid permanent total disability benefits.