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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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What Disability Benefits Are Available Under New Mexico Workers' Comp?

When a workplace injury occurs, most New Mexico employees are automatically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These include coverage for medical bills and lost wages, as well as disability benefits in the event the employee must take a significant amount of time off for recovery. There are two main types of disability benefits—temporary disability and permanent disability. Our Albuquerque workers’ compensation lawyer explains.

Temporary Disability Benefits

Temporary disability benefits were designed for anyone who suffers a work injury that prevents them from either being able to return to work for more than a few days or unable to perform their regular job duties while in recovery.

Under temporary disability there are two types of available benefits:

  • Temporary partial disability (TPD): Employees who are able to work during their recovery, but only at a lower wage and/or capacity than usual, can receive TPD benefits to supplement their income until they are back on their feet. People with partial disabilities should be able to make a full recovery, or at least enough of a recovery to return to work as normal.
  • Temporary total disability (TTD): Employees whose work injuries are so severe that they cannot work at all while recovering are eligible for TTD benefits.During your recovery period, these benefits pay two-thirds of your average weekly wages, up to a maximum set by state law each year (for example, in 2018, the weekly maximum in New Mexico was $796.96). These benefits either stop upon your recovery or transition to permanent disability benefits depending on the severity of the injury.

All New Mexico employees are eligible to receive these benefits until either they are physically able to return to work or their doctor decides they have reached “maximum medical improvement” or MMI, the point at which their condition has improved as much as it possibly can.

Permanent Disability Benefits

When a workplace injury is very severe, debilitating, and/or long-term, it may qualify you for permanent disability benefits. This will occur if, at the point of reaching your MMI, your work injury has left you permanently disabled. When your doctor determines you have reached your MMI it means that you cannot reasonably be expected to recover any further from your injuries than you already have.

Once your doctor has determined you have a permanent disability, they will need to determine your “disability rating.” Your disability will be assigned a percentage based on how much of your body and ability to function is affected.

There are two types of permanent disability benefits:

  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): PPD benefits are paid to those whose disability rating is 99% or less. At this level, you are considered able to continue to work in some capacity, but less so than you were able to before your accident. If your PPD rating is less than 80%, the maximum duration of payments is 500 weeks; if the rating is 80% or more, benefits are paid for a maximum of 700 weeks.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If your disability rating is at 100%, you are considered unable to work without risking further injury to yourself and should receive PTD. Usually, injuries like brain damage, the loss of the use of one’s arms and/or legs, and total blindness qualify those affected. PTD benefits provide lifetime payments at the state’s weekly compensation rate.

Get a Free Case Review Today

While injured employees are entitled to workers’ comp and disability benefits by law, the reality is sometimes more complex. Paying disability benefits, especially when permanent, can be very expensive for employers and their insurance companies, so you may be met with resistance when filing your claim. If you have a legitimate need for disability benefits and have been denied or are experiencing other complications with your claim, our Albuquerque workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help.

Contact Attorney Michael J Doyle to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options for receiving permanent or temporary disability benefits in New Mexico.