5 Situations In Which You May Be Required To Pay Back Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to provide financial assistance for those who have been injured on the job or are suffering from a work-related illness. However, while these benefits can be life-saving during hard times, there are certain occasions in which you may be required to pay back these benefits.
If you are receiving letters or phone calls from the employer’s insurance company with demands to pay back workers’ compensation, you may want to speak with a lawyer first. Contact our attorneys at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP to discuss your particular situation and learn about your options.
When Can You Be Required to Pay Back Workers’ Compensation?
In the traditional sense – the answer is typically never. A workers’ compensation carrier cannot force you to send them money back. However, there are a number of scenarios where a reimbursement is owed – and is taken from future benefits to rectify the benefits received. Let’s take a look at the five situations in which you may be required to pay back workers’ compensation. Knowing what these situations are can ensure that you are not caught off guard when the employer’s insurance company sends you a letter or calls you and demands to pay back workers’ compensation benefits.
1. Third-Party Settlement or Judgment
If a third party is held liable for your injury and/or illness and you receive a settlement or judgment from them, then the employer’s insurance provider may demand that all or some of those funds go towards paying back workers’ compensation benefits that were received prior to the settlement being reached. Any time a third party (someone other than your employer or one of its agents) is responsible for your work injury, it is imperative that you have counsel to assist you through the workers’ compensation process.
Sometimes due to an administrative error, an individual may receive more in workers’ compensation payments than they are actually entitled to receive under their policy. In cases like this, the overpayment will need to be returned as soon as possible and before any further payments can be made under the policy.
3. Disability Retirement
If an individual receiving workers’ compensation benefits retires prior to fully recovering from their injury/illness they may be required to return all or part of the benefits they have received up until that point in time. This is a legally complex scenario and reimbursement is not always required – despite what the insurance carrier may tell you. It is best to consult with an attorney to confirm repayment is required.
4. Return to Work
If an individual receiving workers’ compensation returns to work either full-time or part-time prior to fully recovering from their injury/illness, they may also be required to return all or part of the benefits they have received up until that point in time.
5. Fraud or Misrepresentation
Finally, if you make false statements or misrepresent yourself as part of your workers’ compensation claim, you may be legally obligated to return any payments you received. This is true even if the fraud or misrepresentation was not intentional. In addition, if it is proven that you knowingly made such a statement, then criminal charges could also apply. Under Maryland Labor & Employment Code § 9-1106, theft charges may apply to those who attempt to claim workers’ comp benefits through a fraudulent representation. This situation typically occurs when an individual is receiving disability benefits and continues working for another employer while alleging partial or total disability.
Consult with a Lawyer Regarding Your Repayment Obligations
It is important for individuals who are currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits to understand when they may need to pay back those same benefits. Be sure and consult with a skilled lawyer should questions arise regarding potential repayment obligations associated with your particular case. Our lawyers at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP can explain what steps you should take when asked to pay back workers’ compensation. Call 800-248-3352 today for a free case review.