When you receive a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company, you may wonder about your next steps. If you have been relying on the benefits to pay your medical and personal bills, you may be in a panic. Take a deep breath and learn about what the Notice of Intent means.
The title of a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits says it all. The notice tells you that the insurance company that has been paying you wage loss benefits and/or medical benefits plans to stop making wage loss benefit payments. The notice also should tell you the reason that the insurance company claims you should not continue to receive benefits. There are checkboxes on the first page saying that it believes you:
- Returned to work at full wage;
- Returned to work at reduced wage or hours; or
- Other reasons, which may be medical and which should be briefly explained on the form.
If you returned to work at a reduced wage rate or with reduced hours, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability, which pays two-thirds of the difference between your old and new weekly wages.
In addition, the form states that you will continue to receive some benefits. The insurance company will continue to pay your reasonable medical expenses related to your work injury. If it stills owes you permanent partial disability benefits not yet paid, you will receive those as well. The second page of the form lists the benefits that the insurance company has paid so far. Review this and check that the amounts and types of benefits look correct.
You have a couple of options for addressing the Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits, if you believe that you are still due benefits. First, you can request a conference. A conference will be set if you disagree with the “other reasons” for discontinuing benefits or if something happened within the 14 days after you returned to work that led you to think your benefits should be reinstated. You have either 12 days after the notice is issued or 30 days after you return to work to request a conference.
Second, you or your attorney can file an Objection to Discontinuance form with the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Department of Labor and Industry. When filed, this form requests a formal hearing before a workers’ compensation judge within about 60 days. Third, you can file a Claim Petition, although resolving the Petition will be a much longer process than a conference or hearing. You should consult an attorney before you select any of these three options.
Did you just receive a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits and need legal advice now? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.