How Much Are Workers' Compensation Benefits in Kentucky?

Learn how much compensation you'll receive for your work injury in Kentucky.

Injured workers in Kentucky are eligible for a series of valuable workers’ compensation benefits. The value of your benefits will vary, depending on the nature of your injury, your pre-injury wages, and how state workers’ comp laws apply to your claim. Below, we discuss how workers comp benefits are calculated in Kentucky.

Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The following types of benefits are available through workers’ comp In Kentucky:

  • temporary total disability benefits
  • permanent disability benefits (total and partial)
  • death benefits
  • reasonable and necessary medical treatment, and
  • mileage to and from doctors’ appointments.

To learn more about eligibility for each benefit, see our article on types of workers’ comp benefits.

Limits on Benefits

Kentucky places some limitations on workers’ compensation benefits. For example:

  • each benefit is subject to a weekly maximum established by the workers’ comp agency each year (see the annual rate schedule published by the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims)
  • your benefits may be reduced if your intentional violation of a safety rule caused your injury, and
  • you cannot receive compensation for pain and suffering (the physical and emotional distress you experience due to your injury).

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

If you are unable to perform any work while recovering from your injuries, temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are paid. These benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW)—but no more or less than the state’s maximum or minimum benefit ($835.04 and $167 in 2017). TTD benefits are not paid for your first seven days off work unless your disability lasts more than two weeks. And, these benefits stop once you either return to work or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI occurs when your doctor determines that your condition will no longer improve with treatment.

Unlike many states, Kentucky does not pay wage loss benefits if you’re able to work but earning less than you normally do.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Once your doctor determines you are at MMI, you will be evaluated for a permanent disability. If your injury or occupational illness prevents you from performing any type of work, you are entitled to permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. PTD benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW), subject to the state’s maximum and minimum benefits (which are the same as the TTD rates). You will receive PTD benefits as long as you are totally disabled (up to your Social Security retirement age).

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Unlike some states, Kentucky does not award partial benefits based on a schedule. Instead, all permanent partial disability (PPD) awards are based on the percentage of total body function you lost due to a work injury. These benefits are available regardless of whether you lose time from work or suffer a reduction in wages. However, your ability to work may affect the amount of your benefit.

Kentucky PPD benefit rates are calculated using the following formula:

(.6667 x your average weekly wage) x impairment rating x state multiplier

Once you reach MMI, your doctor will evaluate your permanent disabilities and assign an impairment rating, stated as a percentage. Your impairment rating is based on the percentage of total bodily function you have lost. Your impairment rating determines what state multiplier you use:

  • 0-5 percent impairment: 0.65 multiplier
  • 6-10 percent impairment: 0.85 multiplier
  • 11-20 percent impairment: 1.00 multiplier
  • 21-25 percent impairment: 1.15 multiplier
  • 26 to 30 percent impairment: 1.35 multiplier
  • 31 to 35 percent impairment: 1.5 multiplier, and
  • 36 percent or more impairment: 1.7 multiplier.

Example: Suppose you injured your back at work, resulting in a 30% permanent impairment. Before your injury, your average weekly wage was $600. Your benefits are:

  • 0.6667 x 600 = $400
  • $400 x 0.3 (impairment rating) = $120
  • $120 x 1.35 (multiplier) = $162 PPD benefit.

Additionally, your benefits may increase or decrease depending on your age, education, and ability to work. (Older and less-educated workers receive an additional multiplier, while workers who have returned to work at their pre-injury wage rate do not receive a multiplier at all.) If you need help calculating your PPD benefits, consult with a local workers’ comp lawyer.

Your impairment rating determines how long your benefits will last. If your impairment rating is 50 percent or less, you will receive 425 weeks of PPD benefits. If your impairment rating is more than 50 percent, you will receive 520 weeks of benefits.

Death or Survivors’ Benefits

If an injury or illness results in death, the worker’s dependents may receive death benefits. In Kentucky, surviving spouses receive both a lump sum payment and weekly benefits. The amount of weekly benefits varies, depending on how many children and dependents the worker had (subject to the state’s minimum and maximum benefits).

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