Moving on, workers comp wage loss benefits are not available if you voluntarily retire while only partially disabled. In this situation economic loss is the appropriate test for determining eligibility to wage loss benefits. This is because a retiree who is not totally disabled has the option of re-entering the workforce at some time.
If you are receiving income replacement benefits through workers comp and are thinking of voluntarily retiring, make sure your doctor has totally disabled you from all work. Otherwise your pre-injury employer and its workers compensation insurance carrier can file to stop your wage loss benefits. And they will likely win.
Though retiring may mean you give up your right to wage loss benefits under the Workers Compensation Act, it does not mean you give up your right to lifetime medical benefits for your work-related injuries.
Even if you retire, the workers compensation insurance carrier is required to pay all medical bills related to your work injury, including mileage for driving to and from doctor’s appointments.
But remember – the insurance carrier is only responsible for this medical care if you:
- Report your work injury to the employer within 30 days of the accident;
- File a claim for benefits within the applicable statute of limitations; and,
- Pick a doctor from the panel of physicians offered by your employer or its workers comp insurance carrier.
If you are considering retirement after a workplace injury, it’s recommended that you wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement and undergone a functional capacity evaluation (FCE).
That way you will know what your permanent medical restrictions and your attorney can work with your authorized treating physician to determine what future medical care you may need. At this point your attorney can also determine whether you will be able to receive TTD benefits if you retire voluntarily.
This is also a good time to try to settle your workers compensation case. If you settle your case in full, then you won’t have to worry about the impact retirement will have on your worker’s comp benefits.
You can then combine your settlement funds and retirement benefits to maintain your quality of life. And you won’t have to worry about the workers comp insurance carrier looking over your shoulder.
So, as an injured worker considering retirement, you have a lot to think about. The employer and its workers comp carrier will continue to pay all reasonable, necessary, and related medical expenses if you retire. But you may give up the right to wage loss benefits if you retire.
Defending the Rights of Employees in Virginia
When you’re on-the-job, you have the right to be protected by your employer from work-related injury or illness. In the state of Virginia, specific workers' compensation laws provide protection. These laws give you options when you sustain an on-the-job injury so you can be financially covered for any damages to your person or income. If you were injured on the job or contracted an illness due to an unhealthy work environment, our Norfolk workers’ compensation attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman PC can help you file your lawsuit. There are several laws that can impact
the outcome of your case, so it’s extremely important to have a workers' comp lawyer on your side to assist you through the entire process. Get help with your workers’ compensation lawsuit. Contact us today by calling (855) 880-8163.