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When can workers' compensation benefits be stopped or modified?


Massachusetts workers who have been injured or suffer a condition on the job that prevents them from working will generally be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The insurer is responsible to make these payments for the required duration and in the proper amount based on the circumstances. However, there are times when the insurer who is making the weekly payments can modify the workers' compensation benefits the work accident victim gets or can stop them entirely. It is important to know the situations in which this can happen.

The workers' compensation benefits can be modified or discontinued if there was a decision to do so made by an arbitrator, an administrative judge, the reviewing board, or a court. It can also be discontinued or modified if the person receiving compensation agreed in writing on a form the department provided and the original was filed with the department. If the employee has returned to work, the payments will stop., but if the worker leaves employment within 28 calendar days and within 21 calendar days tells the employer and the insurer that the disability is again rendering him or her unable to work, the payments can resume.

The insurer can stop payments if there is a report from a medical professional who was providing treatment or was an impartial examiner saying that the worker can get back to the same job he or she had at the time of injury or another suitable job that the worker is physically and mentally capable of doing. There must be a written report from the employer saying that the worker can have a suitable job that is open. The worker can again receive workers' compensation if he or she is unable to perform the job due to mental of physical issues.

The insurer might receive information from the office of education and vocational rehabilitation that gives authorization to do so. If the payments have been exhausted, they can be stopped or modified. Past overpayments and a failure to provide an earnings report after a written request can lead to the payments being stopped or modified. A worker will forfeit rights to workers' compensation if he or she is incarcerated after a felony or misdemeanor.

People who are getting workers' compensation benefits or are in the middle of making a workers' compensation claim should know the circumstances under which the payments can be terminated or modified. If there is an issue with the decision to modify or stop the payments, a legal professional who is experienced in workers' compensation can help.

Source: malegislature.gov, "Section 8: Termination of modification of payments -- (2)," accessed on Dec. 25, 2017

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