What are "Scheduled" and "Unscheduled" Disabilities?
If you have a Federal workers' compensation case, you must be aware of the differences in how to calculate disability. Disability can either be "scheduled" or "unscheduled." Here is a quick explanation on the topic.
Scheduled InjuriesThese kinds of injuries include permanent work related injuries that involve a part of the body such as the eye, arm, hand, leg, foot, or ear. With these types of injuries, there are established periods of benefits allowed for compensation predetermined by law. The percentage of disability determined by your doctor is plugged into the statute, and then calculated with your earnings and disability percentage. What results is the value of your disability per "the schedule" -- or law.
The formula for how to calculate the disability is established by statute. A scheduled injury award is paid out over a set number of weeks indicated in the formula, and then ends once the value is paid out in full. The employer's insurance company will, without a court order, determine the amount they will pay and for how long. If the injured worker disagrees, they should most often seek legal help to obtain a greater value through litigation.
If you receive a scheduled disability award, pay close attention. The awards are commonly calculated in favor of the insurance company. There are often many disputes over permanent injuries with scheduled awards, as the calculation of total disability must be determined by careful analysis of the medical records establishing disability and wage documentation. It is best to consult with an attorney to determine if what was paid or will be paid is proper and accurate.
Unscheduled InjuriesUnscheduled injuries are typically more general types of disabilities and include occupational diseases, injuries to a hip, shoulder, back, or psych. An unscheduled award is based on your general reduction in your ability to earn -- wage loss -- not just the percentage of disability. This means that it is possible to receive nothing if the insurance company proves that you have no diminished earning ability, even when you have disability and cannot work.
An unscheduled disability results in an award of wage loss - and can be modified by the insurance company through litigation if you are later found to have an adjusted wage loss. The figure can move down, in favor of the insurance company - or up, in your favor, should your wage loss increase. The assistance of a skilled attorney can often be the difference between receiving nothing and a significant monthly award.