If you have suffered a job-related injury or illness, you are entitled to receive Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits. Your employer and their insurance carrier are required to pay you a portion of your wages while you are recovering, but may attempt to terminate or modify your benefits before you have fully recuperated. When your benefits are threatened by premature termination or modification, the attorneys at Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias fight to ensure that your benefits continue, without interruption or modification, until you are fully recovered.
About Modification and Termination of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania
Employers and insurance carriers will file a Petition to terminate or reduce workers’ compensation benefits if they believe you have recovered enough to return to work, even if modified duties need to be implemented. The Petition can result in a complete termination of your benefits or a reduction in the amount you have been receiving. Our workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to defending your right to continued benefits until you fully recover from your work-related injuries.
If you have recently received a request from your employer or insurance carrier for vocational counseling or for a medical examination to be performed by a doctor specified by them, a petition to modify or terminate your benefits is most likely being prepared. Employers will use several strategies to gather evidence about your medical condition, the progress of your recuperation, and your capacity to return to work. These include:
- Independent Medical Examination (IME): Your insurance carrier can request that you see a specific doctor to evaluate your medical condition. This physician’s assessment can be used as grounds to suspend your benefits if they determine that you have recovered enough to return to work.
- Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE): Your benefits can be modified if your physical condition changes. For instance, if you were fully disabled, you can be deemed partially disabled if your IRE shows a rating of 50% or below. In this case, your benefits could be reduced, or even terminated depending on the level of impairment cited, in conjunction with other evidence the insurance company may produce. If you have received a Request for Designation of a Physician to Perform an Impairment Rating Evaluation, call our Workers’ Compensation attorneys immediately.
- Vocational Counseling: A vocational counselor will evaluate your current earning potential and compare this with the current job market. Your employer could also offer you a position that matches your current capacity. Your right to benefits may be affected whether or not you actually return to work.
Why Can My Workers’ Comp Benefits be Changed?
When a petition for modification or termination of benefits is presented, a judge will evaluate all of the evidence presented, and will determine what if any changes will be made to your current benefit plan. The experience and knowledge of a workers’ comp lawyer is vital to the continuation of your benefits. They will gather pertinent medical information that proves you are not yet ready to return to work and will defend your right to continue benefits until you are fully recovered.
There are several key factors that can change your benefit status:
- Suspension of Temporary Benefits: If an employer began temporary benefits following your work related injury or illness, they have 90 days to fully investigate your claim. They have the right to terminate these benefits at any time during the 90 day period if they believe evidence collected does not support your claim. If you have received a Notification of Suspension or Modification Form it is imperative that you contact our Workers’ Compensation attorneys right away so that we can fight for your continued benefits.
- Final Receipt: If you signed a Supplemental agreement or an Agreement to Stop Workers’ Compensation benefits, or a “Final Receipt”, a Workers’ Compensation judge may uphold that agreement in effect.
- Expiration of Benefits: If you have exceeded the maximum weeks of coverage for full or partial disability, your benefits will be terminated.
- Retirement vs. Withdraw: If you retired from your job while collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits, your insurance carrier can claim that you voluntarily left, rather than retired from the workforce due to your injury. This could have a negative impact on your benefits.
- Medical Release: If a qualified doctor has examined you and determined that you are medically able to return to work, your benefits may be terminated. In this case, you will have received aNotice of Ability to Return to Work Form. Call our Workers’ Compensation attorneys without delay to avoid the termination of your benefits.
- Refusal of Employment: Your Workers’ Compensation benefits can be terminated if you refuse a job offer from your employer that is modified to meet your physical and professional capacity.
The Philadelphia Workers Compensation lawyers at Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias are experienced in defending your right to continued benefits, despite the claims in your employer’s Petition to Modify or Terminate Benefits. We gather vital medical records and vocational information to support your position. We believe that a full recuperation from a job-related illness or injury is necessary before you return to the workforce, and Workers’ Compensation benefits are vital to a successful recovery.
Our Delaware County Lawyers Can Help You Keep Your Workman’s Compensation Benefits
If you have received a Petition to Modify or Terminate your workers’ compensation benefits, or suspect that your employer is preparing to file a Petition, the attorneys at Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias can help you. Timing is crucial, so don’t hesitate to contact us the minute you receive a Petition or suspect that a Petition will be filed. We will examine the details of your case and prepare evidence to aggressively defend your right for your benefits to continue as long as you need them. Our experienced Delaware County workers’ compensation lawyers will work to ensure that your recovery is not complicated by a loss of benefits.
We have offices in Philadelphia and Media, Pennsylvania. We are conveniently located and available to represent your claims against Pennsylvania employers even if you live in Delaware or Southern New Jersey. We regularly appear before the Workers’ Compensation courts in Philadelphia County, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Berks County, Chester County and Delaware County. Call us today at 484-679-5239 for a free consultation with a reputable Delaware County workers’ compensation lawyer or contact us online.