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Permanent Impairment Awards

RSA 281-A:32

A permanent impairment award, which is under RSA 281-A:32 of the New Hampshire Workers' Compensation statute, is an award for the percentage of permanent loss of use to a compensable body part. Compensable body parts are listed in the statute giving the total number of weeks allowed. The award is a separate and distinct benefit and is in addition to any other benefit being paid such as weekly compensation, medical benefits and vocational rehabilitation.

If an injury causes a permanent loss to more than one compensable body part or to the spine, the award is given on the basis of a whole person permanent impairment using a 350-week schedule.

According to RSA 281-A:32, IX, "Injury to spinal column or spinal cord shall not be construed to permit an award under this section as a result of soft tissue injury, nor to permit such an award on the basis of more than one permanent loss, unless such injury results in loss of use of upper or lower extremities."

In accordance with the Workers' Compensation statute, any medical opinion regarding permanent impairment must be based upon the 5th edition of the The AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The AMA Guides are used in conjunction with the statute to determine the benefit to be paid.

Calculation of the award is a relatively simple formula:

  1. percentage of loss multiplied by the total number of weeks
  2. the number of weeks multiplied by the claimant's compensation rate
  3. equals the total dollar amount of the benefit.


10% loss of an arm would be .10 x 210 (arm) = 21 weeks of benefits times the compensation rate of $325.00 or a total of $6825.00.

In order to qualify for a permanency award, the claimant must be at a medical endpoint. The average weekly wage and compensation rate to be used in computing the award is the average weekly wage of the employee at the time of injury. All awards are to be paid in a single payment.

New Hampshire Department of Labor  |  
95 Pleasant Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3176  |  
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