When you suffer a permanent injury on the job that causes you to lose the use of a body part, it may also permanently damage your ability to perform your job duties.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board explains that if you lose the function of a body part, you may qualify for a Schedule Loss of Use award.
Maximum medical improvement
Part of showing that the functional impairment is permanent is having a doctor submit a report stating that you have improved as much as you are going to. Treatment and healing are complete, and your current state of impairment is likely permanent.
Loss of function
In some cases, the impairment may be obvious, such as the loss of a limb or an eye. However, the damage may be internal, such as damage to nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons or bones. The loss of function does not have to be complete, either. For example, you may lose 85% of your hearing and still qualify.
SLU award amount
You may receive a certain number of weeks’ worth of benefits based on the body part and the percentage of function you have lost. If you lose 100% function of an arm, you may receive 312 weeks of compensation based on your weekly wage average. If it is a lower percentage, such as 50% loss of function, then you would receive half, or 156 weeks. The judge will make the final determination on the percentage of your loss of function. Your SLU award will be that amount minus the amount of any temporary benefits you have already received.