What Is the Difference Between Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits?

What Is the Difference Between Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits?

Understanding the difference between temporary and permanent disability benefits in Chicago, Illinois, is instrumental in knowing the type of benefits entitled to you after a work-related injury or condition. Temporary disability benefits offer financial support to employees who cannot work at full capacity for a limited period due to their injuries. Permanent disability benefits, on the other hand, are available for work injuries that have a long-term impact on a worker’s ability to perform job duties.

Social Security Disability Claim Form with calculator, pen and eyeglasses. difference between temporary and permanent disability benefits

Workers’ compensation lawyers in Illinois know the difference between temporary and permanent disability benefits and can review your case to determine which applies to your situation. They can handle the legal process of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits while you continue receiving treatment and recovering from your injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related temporary or permanent disability and need legal support, call Martay Law Office at 312-374-6403.

Temporary Disability Benefits

In Illinois, these benefits are available to workers who cannot complete their duties for at least three consecutive working days. You need medical evidence of your temporary disability to qualify for temporary disability benefits.

Temporary disability benefits under the Illinois Workers Comp Act fall into two main categories:

Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits

You will qualify for these benefits if your injuries keep you from working for three days. You will receive compensation after you miss work for 14 working days. TTD benefits are two-thirds of your original average weekly earnings, up to the maximum statewide average weekly wage (SAWW). This amount changes twice a year. The maximum for the first six months of 2024 is $1,897.92. You will keep receiving TTD benefits until your treating doctor declares you fit to return to work.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits

You may get TPD benefits if you can perform light or modified work duties during your recovery journey. You can determine the amount of these benefits by calculating the difference between your earnings before the injury and your current earnings. Then, you find two-thirds of that figure. The resulting amount will be subject to your minimum and maximum SAWW.

Permanent Disability Benefits

These benefits cover work-related injuries or conditions that leave workers with permanent impairments or disabilities. These impairments may keep affected workers from working in the same capacity as before. Like temporary disability benefits, there are two types of permanent disability benefits.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits

Your doctor will examine you to ascertain if your ability to work is still limited despite reaching maximum medical improvement. The doctor will declare your disabling condition permanent and total if you cannot perform any work-related tasks or some of your essential body parts are no longer functioning. These parts include legs, feet, hands, arms, or eyes.

This declaration will allow you to collect PTD benefits for the rest of your life. The amount of PTD benefits will be equivalent to the TTD benefits.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits

You may obtain PPD benefits if the loss of use of body parts prevents you from performing tasks you used to perform before the injury. PPD benefits further fall into four classes:

  • Wage Differential Benefits: You may receive these benefits if you have returned to work, but your current wages are lower than your pre-injury wages. Wage differential benefits are equal to two-thirds (or 66.6%) of your lost earnings. You can determine your lost earnings by getting the difference between your current earnings and earnings before your injuries. These benefits will cease after five years or on your 67th birthday, whichever occurs later.
  • Scheduled Loss-of-Use Awards: You may get this award if you have suffered loss of use of eyes, ears, limbs, and other crucial body parts. You can determine your award by calculating 60% of your average weekly income before the injury and multiplying that figure by the number of weeks listed in the Illinois schedule.
  • Nonscheduled Awards: You may qualify for this award if your injury is not included in the schedule. Such injuries include spine damage, head injuries, and internal organ injuries. This award amounts to 60% of your average weekly earnings before the injury multiplied by a percentage of 500 weeks. This percentage is the disability rating of your injury or condition determined by your treating doctor.
  • Disfigurement Benefits: You may be entitled to these benefits if your work injury or illness has left severe and permanent scarring or disfigurement to a visible part of your body. These body parts include the face, neck, head, lower legs, upper chest, or arms. These benefits are equal to 60% of your average weekly earnings before your injury for a maximum of 162 days.

An accomplished workers’ compensation lawyer can explain your legal rights and guide you through the claims process. The lawyer can also carefully analyze the unique facts of your case to determine if you can get workers’ comp and disability benefits.

Key Differences Between Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits

Temporary and permanent disability benefits differ in duration, effect on ability to work, payment determination, and purpose.


Temporary disability benefits stop when you can safely go back to work or when you reach MMI. Permanent disability may last for the rest of your life, as they are meant for impairments that are unlikely to register meaningful improvement over time.

Effect on Ability to Work

Temporary disability benefits are meant for injuries that impact your ability to work partially or completely for a limited period. Permanent disability benefits apply to injuries, impairments, or disabilities that completely or partially affect your ability to work for the rest of your life.

Payment Calculations

Temporary disability benefits are based on a percentage of your pre-injury average weekly income. Benefits for permanent disabilities or impairments, on the other hand, take into account the type and severity of the disabling injury or condition.


Temporary disability benefits provide financial support as you recover from your work-related injury or condition. Benefits for permanent disabilities replace wages lost over time because of the disability or impairment.

How Can a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Help You?

A work injury or illness can easily overwhelm you with stress, especially if you choose to work alone. You will experience physical pain associated with your injuries, pushing to recover medical benefits to pay your accruing medical bills, and struggling to meet your daily financial obligations.

Such circumstances can prevent you from handling the claims process properly and lower your chances of obtaining reasonable compensation. That’s why you should hire a lawyer who knows how workers’ comp works, so you can keep up with your treatment and recovery without worrying about your case. The lawyer will help you in the following ways:

Determining Your Eligibility

Most employees are eligible for compensation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Special eligibility requirements, however, apply to certain types of employees, including domestic workers, agricultural workers, and seasonal workers. A lawyer can take a look at your unique situation to determine if you are eligible.

You will have compelling grounds for a workers’ comp claim if you are an employee, your employer has workers’ comp insurance, and you can show that you have a job-related injury or illness.

Determining the Benefits Entitled to You

Your workers’ comp lawyer is conversant with the four types of workers’ compensation benefits and can determine which ones apply to your situation. The lawyer will also determine whether your benefits are enough to pay your medical bills and other expenses.

Collecting Evidence

Your lawyer will gather the evidence necessary to build a compelling workers’ comp claim. This process may involve obtaining medical records, compiling eyewitness accounts, and assembling work-related documents like standard operating procedures and accident reports. It may also involve collecting financial records like medical bills, pay stubs, and receipts for all costs related to your injury.

The lawyer will issue subpoenas to force unresponsive doctors or hospitals to produce your medical records or uncooperative witnesses to attend depositions. Your lawyer will also perform thorough legal research and consider all laws, provisions, and precedents relevant to your workers’ comp case.

Communicate and Negotiate With Your Employer’s Insurer

Up to 86% of workers’ compensation cases filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission in 2020 ended in out-of-court settlements. This statistic shows that negotiation with workers’ comp insurance companies is essential in recovering fair compensation for work-related injuries or illness.

Insurance companies prioritize maintaining or improving their profit margins over the interests of claimants. They use tactics to devalue or deny claims. They may, for instance, trick you into admitting liability or making statements that hurt your case. Your lawyer can communicate with your employer’s workers’ comp insurer without putting your claim at risk. The lawyer can support your claim with irrefutable evidence to help you negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.

Martay Law Office in Illinois has the required expertise and resources to handle your workers’ compensation case and recover the maximum allowed benefits. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

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David W. Martay

David W. Martay, a partner at Martay Law Office in Chicago, IL, is a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer who represents injured employees throughout the state. Known as a highly-skilled advocate for his clients, David has recovered millions for victims of workplace accidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active

Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association

author-bio-image author-bio-image
David W. Martay

David W. Martay, a partner at Martay Law Office in Chicago, IL, is a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer who represents injured employees throughout the state. Known as a highly-skilled advocate for his clients, David has recovered millions for victims of workplace accidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active

Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association