BIG CHANGES TO OHIO WORK COMP WAGE LOSS - EFFECTIVE 2-13-14
In 2014, the next assault on wage loss compensation by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation took place. The changes permit further reduction to the wage loss compensation payment an injured worker can receive. Read about the changes to protect your right to wage loss money!
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is not a "kinder, gentler place".When it comes to election time, remember which legislators are behind the drive to curtail Injured Workers' Rights to benefits and medical care and vote accordingly. By permitting these legislators to remain in office the rights of Injured Workers will continue to be reduced. Don't let this continue! Until the voters of Ohio turn the tide by making their voices heard at election time, a workers' compensation lawyer who specializes in Ohio Work Comp should be consulted. You need an Ohio Workers Comp Attorney to protect your legal rights to money awards.
Summary of February 13, 2014 Changes to Ohio BWC Wage Loss Requirements.Effective February 13, 2014, the Rules related to Wage Loss were modified once again. The latest iteration of the Rule further reduces Injured Workers' benefits and makes seeking and obtaining wage loss even more difficult than before. Once an Injured Worker reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), at times, the only avenue to seek continuing bi-weekly compensation is through wage loss. But, as a result of the new Rules, even the rate of wage loss compensation is reduced depending on certain factors. Summary of February 13, 2014 Changes to Ohio BWC Wage Loss Requirements Medical Reports o All injured workers seeking wage loss compensation must provide a medical report with their wage loss application. The medical report must both list the restrictions caused by the allowed condition(s) and whether those restrictions are permanent or temporary. [(B)(2)(a) and (B)(2)(b)]. o If the restrictions are temporary, the initial medical report must indicate how long the restrictions are expected to last. [(B)(2)(c)]. o If the restrictions are permanent, the initial medical report must be dated within 90 days of the start date requested for wage loss compensation. [(B)(2)(d)]. o If the restrictions are temporary, the injured worker must provide a supplemental medical report every 90 days. [(B)(3)]. o If the restrictions are permanent, the BWC or self-insured employer can request a supplemental medical report every 180 days. [(B)(3)]. Non-working Wage Loss o Injured workers seeking non-working wage loss must submit job search statements for every week of non-working wage loss compensation requested. The job search statements must be submitted with the non-working wage loss application. Failure to provide job search statements will preclude payment of non-working wage loss. [(C)(1) and (C)(2)]. Working Wage Loss o Only if the BWC, Industrial Commission, or the self-insured employer excuse the injured worker from pursuing a job search, the injured worker seeking working wage loss must submit a job search for every week working wage loss is requested. [(D)(1)]. o Failure to conduct a job search is considered a voluntary limitation of income and wage loss will not be paid. [(D)(3)]. Factors to Consider o Injured worker has the burden of establishing entitlement to wage loss compensation. [(E)]. o Injured worker must demonstrate compliance with all job search requirements. [(E)(1)]. o Injured worker must seek suitable employment with the employer at the beginning of the period for which wage loss is requested, unless it is demonstrated that such act would be futile. [(E)(1)(a)(ii)]. o To request non-working wage loss, the injured worker must register with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (or the equivalent state agency if they do not live in Ohio). [(E)(1)(a)(iii)]. o During the first 60 days, the injured worker may search for suitable employment within their skills; after 60 days, the injured worker must also search for entry level or unskilled work. [(E)(1)(b)]. o Job searches must be made in a "good faith effort." This means "consistent, sincere, and best attempts to obtain suitable employment that will eliminate the wage loss." The rule lists a number of factors considered when determining if the injured worker made a good faith effort. [(E)(1)(c)]. o An employer's offer of employment will not be considered unless it is both "made in writing" and contains "a reasonable description of the job duties, hours, and rate of pay." [(E)(2)(a)]. Computation o In the absence of an exception, wage loss is paid based on the average weekly wage and the injured worker's present earnings. [(G)(1)]. o If an injured worker fails to accept a good faith offer of suitable employment, wage loss will be 66 2/3% of the injured worker's AWW and the weekly wage the injured worker would have earned had they accepted the offer. [(G)(2)(a)]. o In the event that an injured worker voluntarily limits his/her working hours, wage loss will be 66 2/3% of the injured worker's AWW and the weekly wage the injured worker would have earned had they not limited their hours. [(G)(2)(b)]. Get a Board Certified Ohio Workers' Compensation Specialist Lawyer to protect your rights. Call Gruhin & Gruhin Now! 216-861-5555.