Why Did I Lose my Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
by Lauren Osgood | Feb 21, 2023 | General Information
Many injured workers reach out to a legal professional for help when they stop receiving benefits. This stoppage in benefits can be unexpected and can feel similar to not receiving a paycheck. In other circumstances, the stoppage in benefits might be expected but will lead to questions about what, if any, benefits may still be available. The experienced workers’ compensation disability lawyers at The Bainbridge Firm are here to answer this and more.
DO YOU HAVE THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK ON FILE?
For injured workers that are receiving temporary total disability, the first thing to check is whether the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or Third Party Administrator has the requisite paperwork to pay ongoing benefits. In order to be paid on time, injured workers must complete a C84 form, certifying that they are not receiving any other benefits.
The physician of record must complete a MedCo14 form certifying that the injured worker cannot return to their former position of employment. In order to avoid a stoppage in benefits, our workers’ compensation attorneys recommend you maintain regular appointments with your doctor at the time when the last form expires. This will allow you to keep receiving benefits without any interruptions.
HAVE YOU REACHED MAXIMUM MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT?
A finding of maximum medical improvement is another reason they would stop benefits. Maximum medical improvement means that an injured worker has reached a treatment plateau. This finding immediately leads to the termination of benefits if the injured worker’s doctor documents the finding.
One other way that can lead to the termination of benefits is if the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or Third Party Administration obtains a report from a doctor that indicates that an injured worker has reached a treatment plateau.
If a report is received, there must also be a hearing to determine whether they will adopt this opinion. This means that if the treating physician does not think that a treatment plateau has been reached, there is an opportunity to dispute this conclusion. However, if the Industrial Commission does find you have reached maximum medical improvement, they will stop your benefits as of the date of the hearing.
WHAT IF THE DOCTOR RELEASES YOU TO WORK?
If your doctor releases you to return to work without restrictions, your benefits will be stopped. This happens because there are no more limitations related to your injuries. To remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there have to be restrictions related to the injuries sustained as part of your claim.
ARE THERE OTHER BENEFITS AVAILABLE?
The good news is that even when one benefit is stopped, other benefits are available depending on your claim and your situation. While temporary total disability may have stopped, you could be eligible for a vocational rehabilitation program that would restart benefits.
If you are back to work with restrictions and are not making the same amount of money, you would be eligible for working wage loss. If you are back to work unrestricted or found to have reached maximum medical improvement, you are eligible for a permanent partial award 26 weeks after you last received your benefit.
Even before your workers’ compensation benefits have stopped, you may be entitled to compensation in other ways. Learn more about other possible options from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
REGAIN YOUR BENEFITS WITH A COLUMBUS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY
If your workers’ compensation benefits have been lost or denied, it’s essential to seek the help of a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney. With their expertise, the workers’ compensation disability lawyers at The Bainbridge Firm can assist you in regaining your benefits and ensuring your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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