Disfigurement Benefits

Permanent Disability Benefits

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Disfigurement benefits are available under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act if an accident does not result in any permanent disability. 820 ILCS 305/8(c) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

Serious and Permanent Disfigurement

Section 8(c) of the Act provides benefits for “serious and permanent” disfigurement to the:

  • Hand
  • Head
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Arm
  • Leg below the knee
  • Chest above the axillary line (above the armpits)

820 ILCS 305/8(c) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

The Illinois Supreme Court has defined disfigurement as:

that which impairs or injures the beauty, symmetry, or appearance of a person or thing; that which renders unsightly, mis-shapen, or imperfect, or deforms in some manner.

Superior Mining Co. v. Industrial Commission, 309 Ill. 339 (1923) (copy not available).

Calculation of Disfigurement Benefit

Disfigurement benefits are calculated by multiplying the number of “weeks” that the disfigurement represents by the applicable benefit rate.

The Act provides for a maximum number of 162 weeks of disfigurement benefits if the accident occurred on or after February 1, 2006. 820 ILCS 305/8(c) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

Determining the number of weeks for any given disfigurement is difficult. It is necessary to consider prior disfigurement awards given by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The applicable benefit rate is the same as the rate for permanent partial disability benefits. It is equal to 60% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, subject to the Act’s specifications of minimum and maximum rates. 820 ILCS 305/8(b)(2.1) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission publishes the minimum and maximum benefit rates on its website, which are calculated periodically. IWCC.

The minimum rate is actually published under “Temporary Total Disability” and considers the date of accident and the number of children and/or spouse. For example, an employee with an average weekly wage of $500 would have a base rate of $300/week. If the employee’s accident occurred on January 1, 2017 and they were married with 2 minor children, the base rate would increase to $319/week. IWCC.

The published minimum rate, however, cannot exceed the average weekly wage. 820 ILCS 305/8(b)(2.1) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

The maximum rate is published under “Permanent Partial Disability If Not Amputation of a Member or Enucleation of an Eye.” The maximum rate for accidents occurring between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, for example, is $775.18/week. IWCC.

Further reading:

820 ILCS 305/8(c) (“A duly appointed member of a fire department in a city, the population of which exceeds 500,000 according to the last federal or State census, is eligible for compensation under this paragraph only where such serious and permanent disfigurement results from burns.”) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

820 ILCS 305/8(b)(3) (“As used in this Section the term “child” means a child of the employee including any child legally adopted before the accident or whom at the time of the accident the employee was under legal obligation to support or to whom the employee stood in loco parentis, and who at the time of the accident was under 18 years of age and not emancipated.”) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.

This article does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.