The process for claiming workers’ compensation benefits can be long, difficult and demoralizing. If a person is trying to recover from a workplace injury or work-caused illness, the loss of income can be paralyzing without benefits. Some employees have even been pushed to lie under oath or make false statements on application forms.
No matter how desperate the situation may seem, it is vital that applicants for benefits tell the truth in hearings or on documents related to workers’ compensation. Any deception may disqualify workers from receiving benefits even if the merits of their case deserved them.
A decision by a workers’ compensation board to deny future benefits to an auto body shop employee was recently upheld by an appellate court. The court determined that the employee’s deception about an additional work activity constituted a breach of a law regarding benefits.
The claimant’s back was injured in a workplace accident at the auto body shop in 2013, receiving benefits until late 2015. When the employee sought reinstatement of benefits, the provider drew attention to undisclosed work he had done as a landscaper, which was unattached to his other job. This constituted an unannounced return to work, which is grounds for withdrawing eligibility for future benefits.
Employees dealing with an initial workers’ compensation claim or fighting a denial on one should consult with a lawyer on the process of filing and seeking an administrative review. An attorney can also advise on the evidence that workers can provide regarding their injuries and the restrictions under which benefits may be received by workers and their families.