THE FLINT JOURNAL “ASK THE ATTORNEY”
ATTORNEYS AT MACDONALD & MACDONALD PLLC
Q. I injured my knee at work a few months ago. My doctor has me off work right now in therapy as I recover from surgery. My employer’s worker’s comp adjuster told me he is going to stop sending me benefits because I am not applying for new jobs. I already have a job. I just need money to live on while I recover. What can I do?
A. Michigan Republicans changed Michigan’s workers’ compensation law for injuries occurring after December, 19, 2011. Injured workers considered ‘totally disabled’ are entitled to receive weekly benefits that pay 80% of their after-tax lost wages. Workers considered ‘partially disabled’ under the new law have their benefits reduced by their so-called “wage earning capacity” unless they are engaged in a good faith job search. I agree it is dumb to look for a new job when you already have one that you intend to return to– however to significantly increase your chances of getting your benefits reinstated at the full rate, it is usually in your best interest to jump through the hoops of sending out resumes and engaging in a job search, even if there is no realistic chance of someone hiring you. (Do not quit your existing job,; just go back to it when and if you recover.) If the Michigan Democrats regain power in the legislature, this will hopefully get fixed. As benefits have been cut off, you should file an application for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Agency and a Magistrate can order the insurance company to reinstate benefits and pay past due benefits. Please contact our office for further direction and assistance. (September 2013)
–Robert J. MacDonald