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NY Workers’ Compensation Disability Classifications

by | Dec 23, 2015 | Disability Classifications, Workers' Compensation

Were you recently injured at work? If so, you should be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. In New York, workers’ compensation pays cash benefits and medical care for workers who were injured or became ill as a result of their job.

Your employer pays for this insurance, and you are not required to contribute to it. When an employee is injured in a work-related accident, they receive weekly cash benefits and medical care, paid for by their employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier.

When you file a workers’ compensation claim, neither you, nor your employer are determined to be at fault, because workers’ comp is a “no-fault” system.

The amount of compensation you receive is not decreased by your own carelessness, nor is it increased by your employer’s fault. However, you forfeit your right to file a claim if the injury resulted directly from you being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


If you were injured at work, it’s up to your health care provider to determine the extent of your disability. An employee’s cash benefits are directly related to their disability classification.

The disability classifications include:

  • Temporary Total Disability: The injured worker has lost their wage earning capacity totally, but only for a temporary amount of time.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: The worker’s wage-earning capacity has been lost partially, and only for a temporary period of time.
  • Permanent Total Disability: The worker’s wage-earning capacity has been totally and permanently lost. In some situations, an employee may be able to work providing their wages combined with the weekly benefit, do not exceed the maximums set forth by the law.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: This means that part of the worker’s wage-earning capacity has been permanently lost.

There are two different types of permanent partial disability benefits, which depend on the body part affected and the extent of the disability, and they are: schedule loss of use (SLU) and non-schedule.

SLU occurs when the worker has lost use of an upper or lower extremity, for example, an arm, hand, finger, leg, knee, foot, or toe. In this case, compensation is limited to a set number of weeks based on the severity of the disability and the body part affected.

Non-schedule refers to a permanent disability that affects parts of the body not covered by an SLU award, such as the heart, brain, lungs, or spine.

If the work-related accident or the date the employee became disabled occurred on or after March 13, 2007, benefits are paid for a maximum number of weeks as determined by state statute.

To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman for a free case evaluation!