Person-as-a-whole benefits are one type of permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits available under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act to injured workers who suffer serious and permanent injuries. They are also sometimes called man-as-a-whole or 8(d)(2) benefits.
Section 8(d)(2) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that person-as-a-whole benefits are available if, as a result of the accident:
- the employee sustains serious and permanent injuries not covered by the disfigurement or scheduled injury sections of the Act;
- the employee covered by the disfigurement or scheduled injury sections also sustains other injuries that do not incapacitate them from pursuing the duties of their employment but which would disable them from pursuing other suitable occupations, or which have otherwise resulted in physical impairment;
- the employee suffers injuries which partially incapacitate them from pursuing the duties of his usual and customary line of employment but do not result in an impairment of earning capacity; or
- the employee does have a loss of earning capacity and so is entitled to wage differential benefits, but elects to receive person-as-a-whole benefits.
Person-as-a-whole benefits are calculated by multiplying the injured worker’s PPD rate by the “percentage of 500 weeks that the partial disability resulting from the injuries covered by this paragraph bears to total disability.” 820 ILCS 305/8(d)(2) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.
Person-as-a-whole benefits are available for injuries that are not covered by section 8(e) of the Act, which provides a schedule of varying benefits for the following parts of the body: finger, hand, arm, toe, foot, leg, testicle, eye, and hearing. 820 ILCS 305/8(e) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.
Injuries to the head, neck, back, and shoulder are generally compensated with person-as-a-whole benefits (unless the injured worker has suffered a loss of earning capacity or is permanently and totally disabled).
Calculating the PPD Rate
Generally, the injured worker’s PPD rate is equal to 60% of their average weekly wage. However, this is subject to minimum and maximum rate rules.
The PPD rate for person-as-a-whole benefits is set forth in section 8(b)2.1 of the Act:
The compensation rate in all cases of … permanent partial disability under subparagraph (2) of paragraph (d) … this Section shall be equal to 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage computed in accordance with the provisions of Section 10, provided that it shall be not less than 66 2/3% of the sum of the Federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or the Illinois minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Law, whichever is more, multiplied by 40 hours.
This percentage rate shall be increased by 10% for each spouse and child, not to exceed 100% of the total minimum wage calculation, nor exceed the employee’s average weekly wage computed in accordance with the provisions of Section 10, whichever is less.
In addition to the minimum benefit rate above, section 8(b)4 sets forth a maximum rate:
The maximum weekly compensation rate, for the period July 1, 1984, through June 30, 1987, except as hereinafter provided, shall be $293.61. Effective July 1, 1987 and on July 1 of each year thereafter the maximum weekly compensation rate, except as hereinafter provided, shall be determined as follows: if during the preceding 12 month period there shall have been an increase in the State’s average weekly wage in covered industries under the Unemployment Insurance Act, the weekly compensation rate shall be proportionately increased by the same percentage as the percentage of increase in the State’s average weekly wage in covered industries under the Unemployment Insurance Act during such period.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission publishes a benefit rate page on its website to make sense of these provisions. These published rates reflect:
- the date of accident or occupational exposure; and
- the total number of children under 18 and/or spouse (on the date of accident or occupational exposure).
Minimum PPD Rates
The minimum PPD rate is the lower of the injured worker’s average weekly wage or the published rate on the Commission’s website. In other words, the minimum rate rules do not allow injured workers to receive weekly PPD benefits greater than their average weekly wage.
As the benefit rate page notes, the PPD rate minimums are the same as the TTD rate minimums.
For example, Commission’s website shows the following minimum PPD rates (under Temporary Total Disability) for accidents occurring between January 1, 2017 and July 14, 2017, based on the total number of children under 18 and/or spouse:
0 – $220.00
1 – $253.00
2 – $286.00
3 – $319.00
4 – $330.00
If the claimant’s average weekly wage was $400.00, the first step to calculate the base PPD rate would be to multiply $400.00 by 60% (.60), which is equal to $240.00.
If this claimant was not married and had no children, the base PPD rate of $240.00 would apply because it is greater than the minimum of $220.00.
But if this claimant was married with 1 child (2 total under the table), the minimum rate of $286.00 would apply because is greater than $240.00.
If, however, the claimant’s average weekly wage was $300.00, the base rate would be $300.00 multiplied by 60%, which is equal to $180.00.
If this claimant was not married and had no children, the minimum published rate of $220.00 would apply.
If this claimant was married with 1 child, the minimum published rate of $286.00 would apply.
But if this claimant was married with 2 children (3 total under the table), the minimum published rate of $319.00 would not apply because it is greater than the average weekly wage of $300.00. In this case, the average weekly wage of $300.00 would be the weekly PPD benefit rate.
Maximum PPD Rates
The maximum PPD rate rules are much easier because there is simply one maximum rate that applies to all cases in a given time period.
For example, for accidents or occupational exposures occurring between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, the maximum PPD rate is $775.18 per week. This means that all workers whose average weekly wage is above $1,291.96 will receive PPD benefits equal to the maximum rate of $775.18.
The maximum PPD rates for other periods is available on the benefit rate page and listed under “PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY IF NOT AMPUTATION OF A MEMBER OR ENUCLEATION OF AN EYE.”
Calculating the Percentage Loss of 500 Weeks
Once the PPD rate is determined, the person-as-a-whole benefit is calculated by multiplying the rate by the “percentage of 500 weeks that the partial disability resulting from the injuries … bears to total disability.” 820 ILCS 305/8(d)(2) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.
Workers’ compensation practitioners and the Commission will typically look to prior decisions in setting the percentage loss in PPD cases. However, new rules are changing how recent cases are decided.
Section 8.1b of the Act provides, for injuries occurring on or after September 1, 2011, that the Commission shall base its determination of the level of permanent partial disability on the following five factors:
- the permanent partial disability impairment report (AMA impairment rating);
- the occupation of the injured employee;
- the age of the employee at the time of the injury;
- the employee’s future earning capacity; and
- evidence of disability corroborated by the treating medical records.
Section 8.1b further provides that “[n]o single enumerated factor shall be the sole determinant of disability. In determining the level of disability, the relevance and weight of any factors used in addition to the level of impairment as reported by the physician must be explained in a written order.” 820 ILCS 305/8.1b Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.
820 ILCS 305/8(d)(2) (“If the employee shall have sustained a fracture of one or more vertebra or fracture of the skull, the amount of compensation allowed under this Section shall be not less than 6 weeks for a fractured skull and 6 weeks for each fractured vertebra, and in the event the employee shall have sustained a fracture of any of the following facial bones: nasal, lachrymal, vomer, zygoma, maxilla, palatine or mandible, the amount of compensation allowed under this Section shall be not less than 2 weeks for each such fractured bone, and for a fracture of each transverse process not less than 3 weeks. In the event such injuries shall result in the loss of a kidney, spleen or lung, the amount of compensation allowed under this Section shall be not less than 10 weeks for each such organ.”) Illinois General Assembly | IWCC PDF.
Will County Forest Preserve District v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2012 IL App (3d) 110077WC (finding that shoulder injuries should be compensated as a loss to the person-as-a-whole rather than as a scheduled injury to the arm) Google Scholar.