Many workers who get hurt on the job in Delaware will only ever need total, temporary disability benefits. They will receive money to make up for lost wages while off work recovering from an injury or job-acquired illness. They will eventually no longer need benefits when they return to work.
Unfortunately, not all workers will make a full recovery from their work-acquired medical condition. Some of them may have lasting consequences from a work-related injury or illness. These workers may have a permanent impairment that qualifies them for additional benefits.
Can you work but struggle to do the same job?
Some people partially recover and can get back to work but still have pain or other symptoms that limit their job performance. You may have to accept a lower-paying position to continue working and supporting yourself if lasting pain, disfigurement or a loss of flexibility or strength issues prevent you from going back to the same high-paying job you once had.
In that situation, you may have a permanent impairment. When a worker has a condition that decreases their earning potential but not their ability to work, permanent impairment benefits can cover some of the losses they suffer because of their injury. A scheduled permanent impairment involves your arms, hands, fingers, toes, eyes, ears, legs or feet, while an unscheduled impairment might affect your back or your organs.
If you suffer lasting injuries and can no longer do the same job or earn the same way you once did, showing that you have a permanent impairment may help support you and your family after your return to work.
Learning more about Delaware’s workers’ compensation program will help you claim the benefits you qualify for based on your medical condition.