What is a Permanent Partial Disability Rating?

09.19.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

What is PPD?

My clients frequently ask about a Permanency Rating or Permanent Partial Disability rating. Under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker is entitled to a monetary benefit that compensates for the loss of use or function of a body part that is harmed due to the work injury. The Department of Labor and Industry developed guidelines for these ratings based on the extent of workers’ injuries. Chapter 5223 of the Administrative Rules lays out these ratings for each body part. Some injuries and conditions may not have specific correlating ratings, but a doctor may assign a rating based on a similar condition or injury under the Weber Rule. This rating is then multiplied by a monetary amount to determine the extent of the benefit.

How is PPD calculated?

For example, if an employee sustains a low back injury and the MRI demonstrates a herniated disc and the doctor determined that he needed a fusion surgery, the doctor would assign a 12% rating under Minn. Stat. 5223.0310, Subp. 4 (a); 2(a). The employee would be entitled to $10,200.

.12 (Rating) (x) $80,000 (factor set by the statute) = $10,200

This chart applies to injuries that occurred after October 1, 2018.

Impairment Rating ______ Amount
0-5.5% $78,800
5.5-10.5% $84,000
10.5-15.5% $89,300
15.5-20.5% $94,500
20.5-25.5% $99,800
25.5-30.5% $105,000
30.5-35.5% $115,500
35.5-40.5% $126,000
40.5-45.5% $136,500
45.5-50.5% $147,000
50.5-55.5% $173,300
55.5-60.5% $199,500
60.5-65.5% $225,800
65.5-70.5% $252,000
70.5-75.5% $278,300
75.5-80.5% $330,800
80.8-85.5% $383,300
85.5-90.5% $435,800
90.5-95.5% $488,300
95.5-100% $540,800

Who Calculates or Assigns a Permanency Rating?

Your doctor will assign a PPD Rating when asked by your attorney or the adjuster for the injury company. Generally, your lawyer will send a narrative request or the adjuster will send a Healthcare Provider Report or “HCPR.” If the insurer disputes the rating assigned by your treating physician than he or she may send you to an independent medical examiner or IME. If you dispute the amount given, if any, by the IME then you may file a claim petition for the disputed amounts.

When is PPD paid to me?

PPD is paid when you reach MMI or maximum medical improvement. MMI doesn’t mean that you are “cured” or healed 100%. MMI means that you are at the point in your recovery where your condition will not greatly improve or decline. You have reached a plateau. PPD benefits may be paid in a lump sum under statute or they may be paid out on the same schedule as TTD or temporary total disability benefits. If you request that your TTD be paid in a lump sum then the insurer may take a small reduction for present value, as they are paying you all at once instead of weekly installations.

Why haven’t I received a PPD Rating?

Because you didn’t know to ask. Frequently insurers will neglect to pay injured workers’ PPD benefits. Generally, adjusters are not in a hurry to send a HealthCare Provider Request to a physician, knowing that they will have to pay benefits. There are also advantages to waiting to get a permanency rating. If you are receiving ongoing TTD or temporary total disability benefits, then you are not at MMI. If you ask for a rating and are put at MMI, then your TTD ends 90 days post- MMI. Be careful what you wish for!

Do I need a lawyer?

If your doctor hasn’t assigned a rating or the insurer hasn’t asked for a rating, you may need a lawyer to step in.  You also may need an attorney if the insurer disputes the amount of PPD in question. Essentially, if there is a dispute paying or obtaining a permanency rating you should consult an attorney. Furthermore, insurers and employers frequently dispute permanency ratings when there is a pre-existing condition. However, if there is no prior evidence in the form of a prior MRI, for the ratable permanency, then the permanency should be attributed to the new work-related condition. Additionally, injured workers may also have old work injuries for which they were never paid a PPD rating. If you have an admitted injury and have not entered into a full final complete stipulation for settlement, then you may be entitled to an additional PPD rating.


Contact Attorney Mary Beth Boyce at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. at (763) 560-5700 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your PERA/MSRS Duty Disability and/or workers’ compensation case for more information about the statutory requirements as well as the application process. Mary Beth is experienced in PERA and MSRS Duty Disability law and repeatedly successfully establishes entitlement to PERA and MSRS Duty Disability benefits for her clients injured in the line of duty.


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What is an Independent Medical Examination?

09.16.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

mary beth boyce

                Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing independent about the medical examination arranged for you on behalf of the insurance company. These Independent Medical Examinations or “IMEs” are also referred to as Adverse Medical Examinations.

Why am I being sent to an Independent Medical Examination?

                You may have received a notice from the insurance adjuster telling you that you are being sent to an Independent Medical Examination or IME. If you are receiving medical or wage loss benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or no-fault insurance carrier than they have the right to send you to be evaluated by a doctor of their choice. Generally, you are being sent to an IME because the insurer disagrees with what your treating physician has recommended for your medical care and treatment. The insurer is looking for a legal basis to cut off your wage loss or medical benefits. Frequently, you will be sent to an IME because the insurer feels that you should somehow just be better by now or back to work, despite your doctor’s opinion. Or you may be sent to an IME because your doctor has recommended surgery or another type of procedure. The insurer is looking to cut down costs and does not want to have to pay for surgery or other expensive medical treatment or to continue to pay wage loss benefits. If you are being sent to an IME, be assured that the insurer will begin to contest and play games with your entitlement to work comp or no-fault benefits.

Who performs the Independent Medical Examination?

                The doctors who are performing the independent medical examinations are hired by the insurance company and act accordingly. These doctors are typically hired by a medical-legal consulting company, such as Evalumed, ExamWorks, or Integrity. The insurance adjuster contracts with the medical-legal company who provides the doctor. The examinations do not take place where the doctor actually practices medicine, these exams take place at an off-site location or an office specially designed for these examinations. These doctors are paid very well to perform these examinations and a popular doctor may perform as many as 5 a week on behalf of an insurance company. The doctor will inform you that you are not a patient and that no doctor-patient relationship exists or will be established. He or she will report directly to the insurance company. These doctors are professional witnesses and know that their reports will be used for the purposes of litigation. The IME doctors frequently testify in court via deposition or live testimony regarding your medical condition on behalf of the insurance company. An IME doctor is not looking out for your best interests.

What should I do during my Independent Medical Examination?

  1. Show up on time. While the doctor may show up late and the appointment may only last 15 minutes, you need to be on time.
  2. Do not cancel unless it’s an emergency. If you cancel and it is not an emergency, you will be charged a very high cancellation fee by the insurer. If you know you will be unable to attend the appointment, either immediately contact your attorney or if you are unrepresented, contact the adjuster.
  3. Be polite and honest but do not trust the doctor. Remember this doctor is hired by and is working on behalf of the insurance company. You will not convince the doctor that you are injured. Tell the truth and rely on your own treating physician.

What happens next?

                You will receive a copy of the IME report which may take a few weeks, depending on the amount of your medical records as well as the doctor’s schedule or how quickly the insurer wants to attempt to cut off your benefits. Rarely will the independent medical examiner find in your favor. If the IME doctor finds that you are not hurt, and if you are hurt, it is not work or accident related, immediately contact an attorney who will be able to fight for your benefits in court.

Contact Attorney Mary Beth Boyce at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. at (763) 560-5700 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your PERA/MSRS Duty Disability and/or workers’ compensation case for more information about the statutory requirements as well as the application process. Mary Beth is experienced in PERA and MSRS Duty Disability law and repeatedly successfully establishes entitlement to PERA and MSRS Duty Disability benefits for her clients injured in the line of duty.

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What Are PERA or MSRS Duty Disability Benefits?

09.11.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

mary beth boyce

Public employees, such as police officers, firefighters, or corrections officers who pay into the PERA Police and Fire Plan, PERA Correctional Plan, or MSRS State Patrol Plan, or MSRS Correctional Plan, may be eligible for Duty Disability benefits, if they become injured in the line of duty and meet several other statutory requirements.

Under the PERA Police and Fire Plan…

Eligible members, such as police officers, deputy sheriffs, or firefighters, receive 60% of his or her “high five” average salary, non-taxable, until age 55. At age 55, the member receives the same amount; however, the benefit converts into a retirement benefit and is then taxable. The Public Employee Retirement Association or “PERA” defines a member’s “high five” as the salary he or she earned during “the 60 consecutives months in which your salary was the greatest,” meaning an average of the earnings during the highest five consecutive years of service. Members are then also eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465.

Under the PERA Correctional Plan…

Eligible members under the PERA Correctional Plan receive 47.5% of his or her “high-five.” These benefits are also non-taxable until age 55. At age 55, this benefit converts to a retirement benefit as well. Unfortunately, corrections officers are not eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465. We hope that the Minnesota Legislature will rectify this discrepancy among law enforcement officers in the State of Minnesota.

Under the MSRS State Patrol Plan…

Like PERA Police and Fire Plan members, state troopers under the MSRS State Patrol Plan who are awarded Duty Disability benefits receive 60% of the average of his or her five highest earning years. State troopers, like police officers and deputy sheriffs, also become eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465 after an award of Duty Disability benefits from MSRS.

Under the MSRS Correctional Plan…

Corrections officers who are awarded Duty Disability benefits under the MSRS Correctional Plan receive 50% of his or her high-five until age 55. At age 55, State Corrections Officers’ awards convert to a retirement benefit. Like, PERA Correctional Plan members, MSRS Correctional Plan members are not entitled to the continuation of health care.

What are the requirements to receive Duty Disability Benefits?

Police officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, and corrections officers must meet certain statutory requirements before PERA or MSRS will award these heightened benefits.

While there are certain exceptions, and as such, members considering applying for this benefit should consult with an attorney, generally the police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer must demonstrate:

  1. He or she sustained an injury while performing inherently dangerous duties.
  2. The duties the police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer were performing at the time of the injury were specific to his or her position (i.e. a firefighter, police officer, or corrections officer)
  3. He or she is unable to perform all the normal duties of his or her position (i.e. a firefighter, police officer, or corrections officer)
  4. The injured officer or firefighter’s condition is expected to persist for at least 12 months.

See Minnesota Statute §353.656 and Minnesota Statute §353.031 for more information. Duty disability benefits are different than regular disability benefits.

These requirements are different from work comp benefits that he or she might have already received or be entitled to under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. PERA and MSRS Duty Disability benefits are only for eligible members who have paid into his or her respective plans. Members can receive both work comp benefits and duty disability benefits; however, certain offsets may apply, and again it’s important to consult with an experienced work comp and PERA duty disability attorney who can help maximize an injured police officer or firefighter’s recovery. These benefits are different than wage loss benefits and medical benefits that a member may or may not already be receiving from the city, county, or State’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Contact Attorney Mary Beth Boyce at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. at (763) 560-5700 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your PERA/MSRS Duty Disability and/or workers’ compensation case for more information about the statutory requirements as well as the application process. Mary Beth is experienced in PERA and MSRS Duty Disability law and repeatedly successfully establishes entitlement to PERA and MSRS Duty Disability benefits for her clients injured in the line of duty.


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Mary Beth Boyce Joins Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

08.07.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

mary beth boyce

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to welcome Attorney Mary Beth Boyce to the firm. Mary Beth is a member of the firm’s individual legal services department, with primary practice areas in Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, and PERA and MSRS Disability Law.

Mary Beth obtained her Juris Doctor degree in 2013 from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, where she served on the Board of Advocates and competed in both the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court and New York City Bar Association Moot Court competitions. She also enjoys mentoring St. Thomas Law students through their mentorship program. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Secondary Education from Creighton University. Prior to joining Henningson & Snoxell, Mary Beth represented clients at a workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm for six years.

Mary Beth has worked extensively with police officers and firefighters when they are injured in the line of duty, a passion that hits close to home. Mary Beth comes from a long line of first responders including grandparents who were firefighters and police officers in Chicago. Mary Beth is passionate about making sure her clients receive the benefits they are due and protecting others from future negligence.

In addition to procuring workers’ compensation benefits, Mary Beth helps her public employee clients acquire PERA or MSRS duty disability benefits if they can’t return to work as a police officer, corrections officer, or firefighter. Police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers may be eligible for duty disability benefits if they have paid into specific PERA or MSRS plans, are injured in the line of duty, and meet other statutory requirements. In Minnesota, this means when successful, they will receive a percentage of their five highest earning years, non-taxable until age 55, and may also be eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465. Mary Beth also frequently litigates third-party claims for first responders injured in the line of duty due to the negligence of someone other than their employers, such as a police officer injured in a car accident or when a suspect injures an officer while he or she was on duty.

Mary Beth enjoys resolving her clients’ cases and securing financial stability when they are going through a tough time, especially against insurance companies who may take advantage of individuals. She works relentlessly to advocate for her clients with integrity and has successfully represented clients through jury trials and argued in front of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, Minnesota Court of Appeals, and Minnesota Supreme Court.

Mary Beth is a member in good standing with the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Minnesota Association for Justice. Outside of the office, you will find Mary Beth riding Cooper, a Quarter Horse at a ranch in Maple Plain, or exploring Northeast Minneapolis with Finn, her Cocker Spaniel Poodle.

We are so happy to have Mary Beth as a member of our talented team of attorneys, each of whom focuses on a specific area of law and is committed to honest and effective legal counsel and representation.

Contact us for more information.

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