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The LHWCA & Disability Compensation

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While the Jones Act allows maritime workers to file a claim if they suffered an occupational injury due to employer negligence or unseaworthiness of a vessel, employees can also suffer a disability from everyday wear and tear of the job. In some cases, workers may be covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).

The requirements for coverage include what is known as "status" and "situs" tests—or, put simply, tests that prove the injured individual was an "employee" and suffered an injury while "upon the navigable waters of the United States" or in adjoining areas. Eligibility is extended to those engaged in maritime employment, including longshoremen and harbor workers; it excludes masters or members of a crew of any vessel. The LHWCA views a disability as a worker's inability to earn the same wages as they did before the injury.

The LHWCA categorizes disabilities in different ways:

  • Temporary Disability: Injured employee cannot return to work and is still recovering
  • Permanent Disability: Injured employee's condition is stable and will no longer improve
  • Total Disability: Injured employee cannot perform any kind of work
  • Partial Disability: Injured employee can still work, but only under modified conditions

Our maritime attorneys have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients and use our expertise to assist injured longshore and harbor workers. If you believe you may be qualified to recover disability compensation under LHWCA, we encourage you to reach out to Arnold & Itkin for reliable legal counsel.

Call our firm at (888) 346-5024 today.

How Much Compensation Am I Eligible For?

Per LHWCA § 908, disability compensation is paid to maritime employees as follows:
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
    Injured employees will receive two thirds of Average Weekly Wage (AWW) in compensation, which is subjected to annual minimum and maximum amounts. An worker with an AWW of $600/week would have a TTD benefit rate of $400/week.

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD
    Injured employees will receive compensation at precisely two-thirds their loss of earning capacity, which is calculated by subtracting what they earn after the injury from their AWW. For instance, if an individual has an AWW of $600 per week, and is only able to earn $300 after the injury, the difference is $300 and their TPD benefit rate would be $200/week.

  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
    Injured employees will be compensated at precisely two thirds of Average Weekly Wage (AWW). This compensation will be paid as long as the worker suffers from the disability. In cases of PTD, the disability is considered to be permanent.

  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
    Injured employees with a permanent impairment will receive compensation for a specified number of weeks; this is commonly referred to as "scheduled PPD," which is payable even if the employee returns to work. The LHWCA lays out a very specific schedule for compensation depending on which body part is impaired (read it here).

  • Unscheduled Permanent Partial Disability
    If a permanent impairment is suffered by a body part that is not listed in the "Schedule" explained above, injured employees will be compensated at precisely two-thirds their loss of earning capacity; this is known as "unscheduled PPD."

The injured employee will receive disability compensation as long as his or her disability continues. This does not apply in cases of TPD, which cannot exceed five years, and scheduled PPD, which is limited to the amount of weeks allowed for specific cases (for example, 88 weeks for a leg lost).

Guiding You Through the LHWCA Disability Process

Pursuing compensation under LHWCA can be complicated and confusing. That is why Arnold & Itkin is here to help you take the proper steps to ensure maximum financial recovery. We understand that it can be overwhelming to navigate the challenging legal hurdles ahead on your own, especially after a serious injury. When you come to our maritime attorneys for counsel, you can rest assured knowing we have an impressive track record of success and are devoted to resolving these types of cases for longshoreman.


To learn more about how you can recover disability compensation under LHWCA, be sure to contact our team today at (888) 346-5024 or fill out a free case evaluation.


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