There are a number of reasons why your employer company might terminate your disability benefits. The most common reason, of course, is that you returned to work at your previous position. There are other possible reasons, however, and some of them can be unfairly applied. You can fight an unjust termination of your workers’ compensation benefits, especially with the help of a skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney.
Return to Work
Since the purpose of workers’ compensation is to compensate employees who are out of work, your benefits will be affected when you return to work. When you return to work, your benefits will either be cut off entirely or reduced. If you return to work with no loss in pay due to your condition, benefits will cease entirely. If you return to a lower-paying position, you may be entitled to partial disability benefits to make up the difference.
Death and Survival Benefits
If you die, of course, then your benefits will cease. Nevertheless, members of your family or other dependents might be eligible for North Carolina workers’ compensation death benefits, as long as your death was related to a workplace injury or disease.
Form 24 Termination
Return to work, death and expiration of the maximum period of disability payments (500 weeks after you reach Maximum Medical Improvement) are grounds for automatic termination of benefits. If your employer wishes to terminate or suspend your payments for another reason, it must file Form 24 (Application to Terminate or Suspend Payment of Compensation).
Your employer’s Form 24 filing must:
- State a definite reason why your benefits are being terminated or suspended; and
- Include all relevant documentation
Form 24 must be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and you must be provided with a copy of it. Once you receive a copy, you have 14 days to file an objection. Benefits will only be suspended or terminated once this 14-day period expires without you filing an objection.
If you do file an objection, you are entitled to an informal hearing by telephone, during which time you and the other side may present evidence and argue your respective cases. The North Carolina Industrial Commission will either (i) order your benefits terminated (ii) order the insurance company to continue paying your benefits or (iii) schedule a formal hearing.
Grounds for Filing Form 24
The most common reasons why your employer might file Form 24 include:
Your employer believes you are no longer disabled (especially if your doctor has cleared you for full duty work);
- You refuse to accept suitable employment;
- You refuse to cooperate with medical treatment; or
- You refuse to undergo vocational rehabilitation if this is required of you.
Take Action Today
John A. Hedrick has been helping his clients obtain workers’ compensation benefits for a long time — over 20 years, to be more precise. He is currently certified to practice workers’ compensation law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.
Remember — it’s not just whether you win or lose, it’s how much compensation you walk away with. Telephone us at 919-626-3895, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online claim evaluation form. We serve clients in Raleigh as well as throughout North Carolina.