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Injured Workers Receiving Workers’ Compensation May Request Reclassification in Cases of Extreme Hardship

Erwin, McCane & Daly | Thursday, July 13, 2017
In 2007 a maximum benefit cap of up to 10 years for permanent partial disability (PPD) classification under Workers’ Compensation Law had been made effective. As of April 10th, 2017, the benefit cap has since been changed, making it imperative that you know your rights with regards to your benefits.  


Amendments have been put in place allowing injured workers, who sustained loss of wage-earning capacity of greater than 75%, facing extreme hardship, are able to apply for benefit extension by requesting a redetermination. 


Qualifications
In a case where the loss of wage-earning capacity is more than 75%, the injured worker may request, within the year prior to conclusion of indemnity benefits, redetermination of hardship. 


Redetermination requests seeking reclassification to permanent total disability, or total industrial disability, the injured worker must meet the following requirements: 


1. The injured worker must be classified with permanent partial disability of greater than 75% and
2. The injured worker must be currently receiving benefits under § 15(3)(w), and be within one year of the scheduled exhaustion of benefits; and
3. The request for redetermination must be filed with the Board on the appropriate Board form within the year prior to the scheduled exhaustion of indemnity benefits; and
4. The appropriate Board form is Extreme Hardship Redetermination Request (Form C-35), which must be complete and accurate.

Reclassification Standards
Workers’ Compensation Law states that qualified injured workers may request a reclassification to permanent total disability, or, total industrial disability due to factors indicative of extreme financial hardship. This will allow judges to take into consideration additional factors to the injured worker’s income and other resources that are available. 


Extreme hardship is classified as a hardship exceeding the usual, or expected, including expected retirement, income. To determine if the injured worker’s circumstances meet the extreme hardship, or not, judges will consider evidence provided on Form C-35. This will take into consideration the value of the injured worker’s assets, monthly expenses, and household income. 


Requesting a Redetermination
An injured worker who is seeking an extreme hardship redetermination must file the Form C-35 with the Board within the year that benefits would expire. The Form C-35 requires the injured worker to provide financial information. Form C-35 also provides room in order to list additional factors which contribute to their hardship. 


For more information on extreme hardship redetermination, contact the attorneys at Erwin, McCane & Daly today!