An important element of Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation system is paying medical bills for workers who have been injured but are not able to return to the work they were doing before. Many older workers in this situation consider retiring.
Here are some questions injured workers should consider about retirement:
Your medical benefits should continue. Retirement does not end payment of medical expenses from your work injury. Your employer’s Workers Compensation insurance carrier is still required to pay all medical bills, plus mileage for driving to and from doctor’s appointments.
When an injury on the job results in permanent partial disability, you should be eligible for compensation for both related medical bills and your inability to continue to earn your previous level of pay.
If a claimant can demonstrate that retirement was necessitated by the work injury, medical benefits should continue. When a worker’s injury caused them to choose to retire, the retirement should not impact their eligibility for benefits. Yet a retirement can cause complications for Workers’ Compensation wage loss benefit claims.
It is important, in order to maintain eligibility for compensation, that you reported the injury within 120 days to your employer.
Does a pension or Social Security weaken your claim? It varies from case to case. If you were not injured, would you continue working? Many factors will be looked at to make a decision, including your age, the nature of your retirement benefits, whether you are still working and earning income.
Part-time workers are covered, the same as full-time workers.
Know that your employer may object to paying you benefits if you are well enough to work a different part-time job. They may ask that your benefits be terminated.
Going back to work in a lighter-duty capacity will likely affect your benefits. If you are capable of doing the lighter-duty work your employer offers, you are obliged to accept. If your salary is the same or greater than before, your lost wage benefits will come to an end.
Note that any income you are paid must be reported to your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier.
Another alternative to retiring is to seek vocational retraining through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
There are numerous financial factors feeding into your decision. You need to make a list of the retirement benefits available to you from your job, what level of Workers’ Compensation benefits you are entitled to, short or long-term disability benefits, unemployment benefits, plus the amount paid out to you through Social Security.
All of these income sources may cause your Workers’ Compensation benefits to be reduced.
Workers’ Compensation law is complex and often confusing. The Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP can answer your questions about compensation for work injuries and retirement. For a free consultation to determine the strength of your case, call us at 267-589-0090 or complete this simple online form. We serve clients across Pennsylvania from our Philadelphia offices.