March 19, 2020 Guest Post – Meuser, Yackley & Rowland “The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota – Part 1”
Will I still get paid?
Whether or not you continue to get paid wage-loss benefits will vary case-by-case depending on your situation. A description of the most common situations is included below. The attorneys at Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. are available throughout the crisis, via phone and email, to answer any questions you have about the impact that Coronavirus may have on your workers’ compensation claim.
Admitted claim, receiving TTD
If you have an admitted workers’ compensation claim (meaning that the employer has accepted liability for your work-related injury) and you are currently receiving benefits, then your benefits should continue during the Coronavirus crisis. Voluntary and/or forced business closures may disrupt the timing of benefit payments, but employers and insurers are putting plans in place to ensure that workers’ compensation benefits will continue during the Coronavirus crisis.
Admitted claim, receiving TPD, but 90-days post-MMI
If you have an admitted workers’ compensation claim, and you are receiving Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits, but you are no longer entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits because you are 90-days post-MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement), then your TPD benefits will stop if you are no longer working, for any reason, including business closure and/or quarantine due to Coronavirus.
The Workers’ Compensation Act states that in order to receive TPD benefits, you must be working at a wage loss relative to your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for your Date of Injury (DOI). If you are not working, then you are not entitled to TPD. In addition, you are only eligible for TTD benefits through 90-days post-MMI. Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point at which your recovery from your work-related injury has plateaued.
If you are not working, then you are not eligible for TPD. And, if you are 90-days post-MMI, then you are not eligible for TTD. In this scenario, your employer and the workers’ compensation insurer have the right to discontinue your workers’ compensation wage-loss benefits.
Admitted claim, receiving TPD, and not 90-days post-MMI
The Workers’ Compensation Act states that in order to receive TPD benefits, you must be working at a wage loss. If you are not working, then you are not entitled to TPD. However, if you have not been served with notice of MMI and you have not reached 90-days post-MMI, then the employer and workers’ compensation insurer should discontinue TPD and commence TTD. In this scenario, your wage-loss benefits should continue, but in a different form.
Admitted Claim, Settlement Pending Award on Stipulation
If you recently settled your workers’ compensation claim, and the parties agreed to continue payment through the issuance of an Award on Stipulation, then you will continue to receive benefits until a Workers’ Compensation Judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) issues an Award on Stipulation, even if the Award on Stipulation is delayed due to court closures.
Expect delays in processing workers’ compensation payments. Employers and workers’ compensation insurers have ten (10) days to issue payment of weekly workers’ compensation wage-loss benefits. Employers and workers’ compensation insurers are doing their best to keep up with regular payments, but business operations may be disrupted as people transition from working in an office to working from home.