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Even though Michigan is a “wage loss” state, there are some special sections in the Act that provide disability benefits to workers irrespective of whether or not they return to work.  Benefits awarded under these sections of the statute are not reduced through coordination. If a worker has suffered certain amputations  (or lost the use of certain body parts) or meets the Act’s special provisions for “total and permanent disability,” benefits will be paid for a certain guaranteed number of weeks regardless of the workers’ ability to return to work.

A worker is entitled to be paid disability benefits for:

  • 65 weeks for the loss of a thumb
  • 38 weeks for the loss of the first finger
  • 33 weeks for the loss of the second finger
  • 22 weeks for the loss of the third finger
  • 16 weeks for the loss of the fourth finger
  • 215 weeks for the loss of a hand
  • 269 weeks for the loss of an arm
  • 33 weeks for the loss of a big toe
  • 11 weeks for the loss of any other toe
  • 162 weeks for the loss of a foot
  • 215 weeks for the loss of a leg
  • 162 weeks for the loss of an eye

pic-workcomp.jpgAt the end of the period of weeks for which “specific loss” disability benefits are paid, the worker must obtain further benefits throughout the regular rules regarding “wage loss” disability benefits.

A worker is conclusively presumed to be “totally and permanently disabled” and entitled to  an automatic 800 weeks of benefits irrespective of the worker’s ability to return to work if he or she has suffered:

(a)    total and permanent loss of sight of both eyes
(b)    loss of both legs and both feet at or above the ankle
(c)    loss of both arms or both hands at or above the wrist
(d)    loss of any 2 of the members or faculties in subdivisions (a), (b) or (c).
(e)    permanent and complete paralysis of both legs or both arms or of 1 leg and 1 arm
(f)    incurable insanity or imbecility or
(g)    permanent and total loss of industrial use of both legs or both hands or both arms or one leg and one arm.

At the end of 800 weeks, the worker is still  presumed to  be totally and permanently disabled and eligible for benefits.  The employer or insurance company can, however, petition the Bureau for a hearing to determine whether the worker is still qualified for benefits.

A disabled worker who returns to work at reduced pay is also entitled to weekly wage loss partial disability benefits.

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