A suspension of Workers’ Compensation benefits occurs when an injured worker returns to work but is not completely healed from the work injury. It is essentially an acknowledgment by your employer that your work injury may require future medical treatment with the possibility of wage loss.
It is extremely important that if you have not fully recovered from your injury that your Workers’ Compensation benefits are suspended, instead of terminated. A suspension makes it easier to receive wage loss benefits in the future should it become necessary.
During a suspension, your employer must pay for medical bills related to your work injury.
If your employer decides to suspend your Workers’ Compensation benefits after you return to work, they must notify both you and the Department of Labor, in writing within seven days of the suspension. You have the option to contest the facts of the notification and have 20 days to file a notice of contest with the Department of Labor.
Within 21 days, a special supersedeas hearing must be held. At the hearing, your employer will present facts to support the decision to suspend your benefits. You must be prepared with strong evidence to the contrary, to successfully challenge your employer.
If you do not challenge the notification, you would accept it by signing a Supplemental Agreement for Compensation, which is a fully binding agreement of the suspension of your benefits. The suspension period may last up to 500 weeks.
Your suspension agreement may have stipulations that require you to document your medical progress, and it is crucial that you comply, should you ever need to resume your benefits. You may have to show that you attended follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy sessions, and other medical treatments.
If you return to your job after your work-related injury and your doctor is still monitoring your healing, you are entitled to a suspension of benefits. It is highly advisable to have an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer look over the agreement your employer asks you to sign, to ensure you are not signing away your right to future benefits.
Should you decide to contest your employer’s petition to suspend your Workers’ Compensation benefits, it is to your advantage to have a qualified attorney build and present your case, so that you can make the strongest showing possible before the judge at the supersedeas hearing.
The judge’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed – so consider taking advantage of a free consultation with a reputable Workers’ Compensation lawyer beforehand.
An employer cannot suspend your benefits without a Supplemental Agreement, Final Receipt, or filing a petition that says you have fully recovered and can return to work.
While most employers look out for the health and safety of their employees, there are some who will present documents for you to sign that is similar to a Supplemental Agreement or Final Receipt, but which can jeopardize the chances of you receiving benefits in the future.
If you have been injured at work and had your benefits suspended, contact the dedicated Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP for help. Our practice is focused exclusively on Workers’ Compensation and we can help you. Call 267-589-0090 today or contact us online. We are conveniently located in Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.