Unfortunately, suffering an injury of sort at work is not all that uncommon. When a worker receives workers’ compensation benefits following a workplace accident or injury, he or she may feel a great weight lifted off his or her shoulders. Benefits are coming in and the worker can stop worrying about lost wages or how to pay medical expenses. However, workers’ compensation benefits may not last indefinitely.
In the event a physician determines that a claimant is able to perform some work, an employer may seek to discontinue the workers’ temporary total incapacity benefits. To do so, an employer must file a Form 36, which is required to be signed by a physician licensed in Connecticut. The employer must send the form to the claimant and the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.
Generally, the Commissioner approves the Form 36 automatically. However, if the claimant contests the Form 36 within ten days, the Form 36 will not be automatically approved and workers’ compensation benefits will continue until a determination is made regarding the benefits at an Informal Hearing.
It is imperative for a worker to act quickly if he or she has received a Form 36 and does not believe benefits should be discontinued. A worker ought to promptly request an Emergency Informal Hearing by contacting the District Office where he or she was injured. Additionally, it is important to inform either the employer, if self-insured, or insurance carrier to notify them that the worker is contesting the stoppage of benefits.
The Informal Hearing is for the worker to detail why he or she is still suffering from total incapacity and should therefore still receive full workers’ compensation benefits. Medical records and reports documenting such incapacity may aid a worker’s case.
A worker who receives a Form 36 should learn more about the Connecticut workers’ compensation system to help guide him or her through this process. It may be possible to successfully contest the Form 36 and continue to receive full benefits, or an attorney can discuss with a worker additional options that may be available for partial benefits depending on a worker’s ability to work.
Source: State of Connecticut Workers Compensation Commission, “What happens if I receive a Form 36?” accessed May 8, 2015