Social Security Disability

What are ratings and do they matter?

It’s a question that can never be answered too often!

When your doctor is getting ready to release you from his care he will probably assign a “rating” to you. Formally this is a “permanent partial impairment rating.”. It measures the amount of loss of use you have to your injured body part.

For example, let’s say you cut off your right thumb. You would have a complete loss, 100% loss, of your thumb. But if your thumb got mashed in a machine it is probably still there. It just doesn’t bend, grip, or have normal sensation to pressure or temperature. So, depending on how bad off you are the doctor will say your use of that thumb is impaired to a certain extent. The Industrial commission has a guide which the doctor can look to for guidance.

Say the doctor assigns a 50% rating to your thumb… What does that mean? The Workers Compensation Act assigns a value to many of your body parts. The thumb is valued at 75 weeks of your compensation rate (the amount you get paid weekly while out of work). So a 50% rating would get you 37.5 weeks of benefits at your compensation rate.

When you think about settling your case the rating is just one of several things to consider. Whether or not you have returned to your old job is probably a greater factor in this — and we would be happy to sit down and lay out some different scenarios for you.