If you suffer an injury in the workplace in New Jersey, and the nature of your injury is such that you’ll never be able to work again, you can pursue permanent total disability benefits under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system. The determination that you cannot work must be made by a medical professional.
Customarily, in the aftermath of an injury, you’ll receive temporary total disability payments (assuming you cannot work at all). Once it’s determined that your medical condition will not improve to the point where you can work again, your temporary benefits will be terminated and replaced by permanent benefits. As a general rule, the permanent total disability award is for a period of 450 weeks. However, the benefits may continue to be paid after that period expires, provided you can demonstrate that you are still unable to engage in any gainful employment.
The amount of your benefits will be based on your average weekly wage (AWW) for the 26 week period immediately preceding your injury. The allocated percentage is 70%, but your benefits must be at least 20% of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) and cannot exceed 75% of the SAWW. To qualify for permanent total disability, though, you need not show that you can’t work at all. Instead, if you have lost two major members of your body—both arms or both feet, for example—or if you have lost a combination of two or more members—a leg and a hand, for example—you will be presumed to be permanently totally disabled.
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