Research and Analysis by Peter S. Barth

Compensating Workers for Permanent Partial Disabilities
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 65, No. 4 (released May 2005)
by Peter S. Barth

There is substantial variability in how state workers' compensation laws provide benefits to workers who have a permanent partial disability. The basic approaches used by the states can be classified into four groupings, although important differences exist within each group. Depending on the approach used, workers with similar injuries can receive substantially different amounts of benefits. Because compensating permanent partial disabilities frequently involves contention, the matters in dispute will depend on the approach used to determine benefits. The continuation of such differences in approach suggests that the states have not found a single "best practice" for determining what such benefits should be.