I often get asked this question. Not that difficult to figure out why.
An injured worker already takes a financial hit because of the reduced compensation one gets in terms of wage loss benefits compared to regular earnings. Then to lose wage loss benefits in their entirety can be financially devastating.
Let me first start off by saying that if you are being paid workers’ compensation age loss benefits (usually in the form of a weekly or bi-weekly check), then you can be rest assured that there are only a few avenues out there for your wage loss benefits to stop. First, and foremost, an insurance carrier cannot unilaterally just stop paying you wage loss benefits. If they do, they are open to penalties awarded via the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Here are the ways your wage loss payments can be stopped:
1. If your employer/insurance carrier accepts your claim via a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable (NTCP), prior to 90 days from the date of your injury, they can stop your benefits. The word Temporary is critical. This notice allows the carrier to pay you wage loss and medical benefits for up to 90 days. At anytime within the 90 days, the carrier can issue a Stop Notice and subsequently issue a Notice of Compensation Denial (NCD). If an NCD is issued, the carrier will stop your wage loss and medical benefits. If the carrier has issued a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP), then the carrier is stuck and can’t unilaterally stop your benefits. Key Point: If your employer accepts your injury with a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable, you should contact Mooney & Associates right away to ensure your rights are protected. Remember, insurance carriers have Attorneys looking over your case, so should you!
2. A Termination Petition is filed, and after the presentation of evidence, a Workers’ Compensation judge orders that your benefits be terminated. Once a Termination, Suspension, or Modification Petition is received by you, you should contact Mooney & Associates immediately. Your employer/insurance carrier has taken hostile actions against your benefits and rights.
3. You execute either a Supplemental Agreement or an Agreement to Stop Workers’ Compensation (commonly referred to as a Final Receipt) acknowledging full recovery. Simple point to take away here? Don’t sign anything without seeking legal advice. Your rights are much too important to trust the insurance company or to sign anything you do not fully understand.
4. The 500-week period of partial disability benefit status expires or your benefits are suspended. The specifically comes from an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). An employer is not entitled to an IRE until an injured workers has been on wage loss benefits for a period of 104 weeks. I will discuss the IRE process in a later blog post. Important thing to remember is if you do indeed receive a notice for an IRE, you need to contact Mooney & Associates immediately to protect your workers’ compensation rights.
5. You retired from employment and the insurance company alleges you withdrew from the workforce.
Those are the only five ways that your wage loss benefits can be terminated.
If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania and live in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Perry, or York counties, contact our law firm to set up a FREE consultation regarding your work injury. Even if your employer is paying your wage loss benefits and medical expenses, you should always seek out legal counsel. At some point, the insurance carrier is going to take hostile action against your rights. With us on your side, we will be prepared for that battle. We monitor accepted cases for FREE.