Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

By Daisy Rogozinsky
May 8, 2022

If you have been injured in the workplace in a manner that prevents you from ever being able to work again, you may be eligible for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. In this article, we’ll define and explain PTD.

Key Takeaways

  • Permanent total disability (PTD) is a worker’s compensation insurance designation in which a person can never work again due to their injuries 
  • There are three types of PTD: specific, non-specific, and odd-lot
  • PTD benefits vary from state to state but usually are based on a percentage of wage at the time of injury

What Is Permanent Total Disability (PTD)?

Permanent total disability, also called PTD or total permanent disability, is a condition under which a person is no longer able to work due to injuries. In contrast to permanent partial disability (PPD), PTD refers to situations in which the individual may never be able to work again.

Permanent total disability is used as a designation for worker’s compensation insurance, a type of insurance that covers people who are injured on the job and cannot work as a result. Insurance companies differentiate between temporary and permanent disability and partial and total disability and pay out benefits accordingly. 

Permanent total disability is the most extreme disability designation. A person will not receive PTD designation until their medical condition reaches a point where there are no further treatment options available or improvement expected. 

Examples of injuries that count as permanent total disability include:

  • The total and permanent loss of sight in both eyes
  • The loss of both arms 
  • The loss of both legs
  • Complete and permanent paralysis
  • Total and permanent loss of mental faculties

The exact amount paid for individuals with a permanent total disability depends on the state they are located in. It is typically based on a percentage of the person’s wage at the time of injury or the average wage of a certain region. 

Types of Permanent Total Disability

There are three types of permanent total disability. These include the following.


  • Specific - Specific permanent total disability is based on a list of specific disabilities, including loss of both arms, both feet, both legs, both hands, or a combination of body parts from different categories. This very severe type of injury is very rare but is the easiest to get PTD benefits for. 
  • Non-specific - This category applies to disabilities not included in the specific list above. It is still possible to get PTD benefits for non-specific injuries, but your claim may be disputed. 
  • Odd-lot - This is the most common type of PTD claim, but is also the most difficult to provide evidence for. It refers to doctor-ordered restrictions on the types of work you can do. You can most likely expect to face opposition if you make an odd-lot PTD claim, as the insurance company can argue that there are still certain jobs you can do.

Permanent Total Disability in Personal Injury Law

Insurance companies have a financial interest in offering insured individuals the lowest possible payout. As such, it can be difficult to receive permanent total disability status. If you find yourself in a situation in which you are injured, cannot work, and want to seek out this benefit, it is highly recommended to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. They will be able to work to get the testimony of physicians and rehabilitation experts to back up your claim. This will increase your likelihood of being able to secure permanent total disability status and be compensated fairly for your loss.

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