When can my workers’ compensation benefits be reduced?

Worker’s compensation can be a real life-saver. Injured workers may struggle to survive financially when injured on the job, and workers’ compensation can help cover lost wages and medical expenses. Yet, the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts is very complicated. Fully understanding it can be difficult, but is imperative to ensure individuals are receiving the fullest compensation to which they are entitled.

However, there are instances when an injured worker’s benefits can be reduced or eliminated completely. One way your benefits will be diminished or halted is if you return back to work. By returning to work, you signify that you are capable of earning a wage and are therefore not in need of workers’ compensation benefits. Yet, if you wind up unable to work within 28 days of your return due to the same injury, then benefits must continue.

Another way an individual’s benefits may be reduced is if his or her doctor submits a medical report indicating that the individual is capable of returning to work and the worker’s employer has a position available that is suitable and agreed to by the doctor. Again, such a situation would signify that the individual is capable of returning to work and earning a wage, and thus is not in need of workers’ compensation benefits.

It is also important to note that an injured worker can lose his or her benefits if he or she fails to show up to a doctor’s appointment requested by the insurer. Under this situation, an insurer will not want to pay benefits because it is not certain that the injured individual is, in fact, unable to work. Also, if an individual who is receiving workers’ compensation benefits is imprisoned subsequent to a criminal conviction, then he or she may lose benefits.

Since these issues can be complicated and potentially damaging to an injured worker’s livelihood, it might be best to speak with an experienced Massachusetts attorney. Hopefully then the worker will be able to have the resources needed to reach as full a recovery as possible.

Source: Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, “When Your Benefits May Be Stopped Or Reduced,” accessed on Oct. 19, 2014


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