Termination of Benefits
In the state of Maryland, if you have been injured on the job, you are entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for a specified amount of time based on the nature of your injury. If your injury has caused a permanent disability, you may receive benefits indefinitely. For less severe injuries, your benefits will stop once you are able to return to work.
Regardless of how long you receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, it is likely that you will depend on those payments to meet your family’s financial obligations. If you receive a “Termination of Benefits” notice, you may be worried about how you are going to pay the bills and support your family. There are things you can do to make sure that your health and your income are protected.
Signs That Your Benefits May Be Modified
It is likely that your employer plans to modify your benefits if he or she has requested an impairment rating evaluation (IRE) or an independent medical exam (IME). In addition, if your employer has recommended that you be evaluated by a vocational counselor, this is another indication that your benefits may be modified.
These break down as follows:
- Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE): This is a medical exam that must be performed 60 days prior to the end of your 104-weeks of total disability benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Commission chooses the doctor to conduct the evaluation. If the doctor determines that you have an impairment rating of less than 50 percent, you will be limited to a maximum of 500 additional weeks of benefits.
- Independent Medical Exam (IME): An IME is different from an IRE in that the doctor chosen to conduct the exam is selected by your employer or your employer’s insurance company. The doctor is paid to look for evidence indicating that you have recovered from your injuries completely, or enough that you are able to return to work. Your employer may include this report if they plan to terminate or modify your benefits.
- Evaluation by a Vocational Counselor: A vocational counselor will determine whether you are able to work for pay in some capacity, even if it is not doing the job you did pre-injury. If the counselor finds that you are capable to performing a lighter duty job, you may be required to return to work, even if you have not completely recovered from your injury.
If your injury prevents you from returning to work after seven days, you will receive temporary total disability benefits. After 14 days, you will be reimbursed for the first seven days. The payment amount is two-thirds of your average weekly salary. Benefits will stop when you return to work.
Modification Versus Termination of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The following are valid reasons for a modification of benefits:
- You have recovered enough to be able to do some type of work, even if it is a duty that has different responsibilities, but that you are physically able to perform.
- Your IRE indicates that you have less than a 50 percent impairment rating.
- The IRE, IME, and vocational assessment suggest that you are physically able to work.
While benefits cannot be stopped without a good reason, the following are valid reasons for a termination of benefits:
- Your Workers’ Compensation claims have been denied by your employer or its insurance company.
- The insurance company filed a Termination Petition and a judge ordered your benefits to be terminated.
- You settled for a lump sum settlement.
- You retired.
- Your injury has healed and you have returned to work or are able to return to work.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work, and your Workers’ Compensation benefits are terminated, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can address any questions and concerns you might have to help ensure that you receive the full benefits that you deserve. We will continue to fight for you until we have your complete satisfaction. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
For your convenience, we have office locations throughout the state of Maryland including in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson.