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How Lifetime Income Benefits Work Under Texas Workers' Comp Law

Although most workers' compensation benefits are only paid for a fixed period, there are some that can be paid throughout an injured employee's life. One such type of benefits is called Lifetime Income Benefits. These benefits are only awarded when the employee suffers a horrific injury in a workplace accident that will forever limit or even completely take away his or her capacity to work.

This article will explain how Lifetime Income Benefits work under the Texas Labor Code and what how it applies to injured workers.


Questions answered on this page:

  • What is the criteria for receiving Lifetime Income Benefits?
  • What does the law say about Lifetime Income Benefits?
  • How can a lawyer help if I have been injured in a workplace accident?

Criteria for Receiving Lifetime Income Benefits

Per the Texas Labor Code, there are seven possible injury combinations, an employee must have suffered one of these in order to obtain Lifetime Income Benefits. These types of income benefits are harder to receive because the employee must have specific injuries that are severe in nature or a combination of health problems due to the accident. Below we review the criteria an injured employee must meet under Texas Labor Code section 408.161.

According to Sec 408.161 LIFETIME INCOME BENEFITS:

  • (a) Lifetime income benefits are paid until the death of the employee for:
    • (1) total and permanent loss of sight in both eyes;
    • (2) loss of both feet at or above the ankle;
    • (3) loss of both hands at or above the wrist;

       

For example, if an employee is moving heavy equipment and both of his hands are crushed under it and require amputation, the employee would be entitled to receive Lifetime Income Benefits under this section of Texas law.

Getting benefits is not necessarily determined on only a bilateral loss like we mentioned above, but also the worker could have a combination of losses that makes him eligible:

Sec 408.161 LIFETIME INCOME BENEFITS continued:

  • (a) Lifetime income benefits are paid until the death of the employee for:
    • (4) loss of one foot at or above the ankle and the loss of one hand at or above the wrist;
    • (5) an injury to the spine that results in permanent and complete paralysis of both arms, both legs, or one arm and one leg;

       

As twisted as it sounds, it is necessary that you have lost use of two limbs, not just one or the other. Or, you could suffer a traumatic spine injury that resulted in paralysis of at least two limbs to qualify for Lifetime Benefits.

Let's continue with the last two requirement options:

Sec 408.161 LIFETIME INCOME BENEFITS continued:

  • (a) Lifetime income benefits are paid until the death of the employee for:
    • (6) a physically traumatic injury to the brain resulting in incurable insanity or imbecility; or
    • (7) third degree burns that cover at least 40 percent of the body and require grafting, or third degree burns covering the majority of either both hands or one hand and the face.

       

These are pretty straightforward. If the injury causes the worker to have a permanent mental illness, that can make him eligible for Lifetime Income Benefits. And severe burns all over the body can entitle someone for these benefits too.

Sec 408.161 LIFETIME INCOME BENEFITS continued:

  • Subject to Section 408.061, the amount of lifetime income benefits is equal to 75 percent of the employee's average weekly wage. Benefits being paid shall be increased at a rate of three percent a year...

This part of the statute is pretty clear: benefits will be paid at 75 percent of the employee's Average Weekly Wage and shall increase 3 percent a year, subject to a cap. For example, if before the employee was injured they were making $400 a week, then they would be able to receive $300 a week as their Lifetime Income Benefits. In the first year that the employee receives these benefits, they would be paid $300/month. In the second year, they would paid $309/month, etc.

A Lawyer Can Help You Get Maximum Compensation

When Texas' Workers' Compensation Act was drafted, it was done so to theoretically make it easier for employees to receive compensation for their injuries. However, since it is money that is coming out of the insurance companies pockets, those carriers try whatever they can to avoid paying. Proving that your injuries are sufficient to allow you to receive Lifetime Income Benefits can be tricky because the insurance company will likely argue your injuries do not qualify and may employ underhanded tactics to dissuade you from fighting their payout limits.

If you believe that you have suffered injuries that would allow you to receive lifetime income benefits, you should consult a skilled work injury lawyer who can help you fight for your rights. Grossman Law Offices has over two and a half decades of experience and has helped thousands of clients determine their rights under the law, and get the compensation that they deserve. (855) 326-1000.


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