What is a Modification of Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Understanding a Modification of Workers’ Comp Benefits
A Modification of Workers’ Compensation Benefits is when the Workers’ Compensation Carrier will modify or adjust your wage loss benefits based on your ability to return to work based on an offer of return to work, usually in a light or sedentary capacity, as a result of an IME report or your own Dr. indicating your ability to work.
When you are receiving workers’ compensation wage loss benefits as you are totally out of work, the workers’ compensation carrier will eventually send you to an Independent Medical Examiner, a doctor they pay to examine you. This doctor will give an opinion as to whether you are still disabled, fully recovered, or capable of some type of work. For example, if this doctor indicates in his report that you are capable of light duty work, the workers’ compensation carrier will reach out to your employer to see if any light duty work is available for you to return to so that the carrier can limit the amount of compensation you are receiving.
Usually when you return to light work, you may be earning less than your previous position. This is when the workers’ compensation carrier will adjust or modify your wage loss benefits according to your new pay. This is referred to as Temporary Partial Disability benefits (TPD). Again, for example, if you worked 40 hours per week prior to your work injury, and now you are working 20 hours per week on light duty, you would receive a paycheck from your employer, and workers’ compensation would make up the difference…ie. partial compensation.
Keep in mind that if your employer cannot accommodate the restrictions, the workers’ compensation carrier can then hire a vocational expert to interview you and find work generally available that may pay a lesser rate than your pre-injury job, hire a lawyer to file a Petition to Modify your benefits, and try to convince a workers’ compensation judge to modify your benefits.
This can get complicated and is also a good time to contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney if you have not already done so to ensure you are receiving the proper pay and to defend any Modification Petition filed against you .
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about workers’ compensation through our Workers’ Comp Wednesdays with Kara Curry on 99.9 The Hawk. If you or a loved one has a question regarding your work injury or claim I invite you to contact me via phone (215) 530-7166, email or the form to the right. As a certified workers’ compensation attorney, I am happy to offer free consultations. – Paula Robinson, Esq.