Termination of Benefits in Arizona
Injured workers and their families rely on workers’ compensation benefits to pay their bills and feed their families. If you receive a termination of benefits notice, you might be feeling confused or even panicked. Fortunately, there are things you can do to extend your benefits and continue receiving assistance until you can return to work. Learn about your legal options under Arizona law – and know when to contact a Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer.
Signs Your Benefits Might Change
Your employer might be trying to modify or terminate your benefits if they request any of the following in writing:
- An independent medical exam (IME). These exams are anything but “independent,” as they are physicians employed by your employer or your employer’s insurance company. They pay this doctor to find evidence that you’ve sufficiently recovered from your injuries and can return to work, which leads to a termination of benefits.
- An impairment rating evaluation. This differs from an IME because it’s conducted by the Industrial Commission of Arizona. It must occur within a certain time frame and assesses your rate of impairment, which might modify or terminate your benefits.
- Vocational counseling. If you receive an offer for vocational training or counseling, it may be because your employer does not think you can return to your current line of work. A vocational counselor will determine if you can work for pay, and whether or not your current condition affects your earning capacity.
Modification Vs. Termination of Benefits
If you receive a change in disability status after any of these tests, your employer’s insurance company may decide to change your benefits. Some of the most common reasons for modification or termination include:
- You have recovered to the point where you can perform some kind of job for pay. Even if you can’t return to your old job duties, your employer can offer you some “lighter” work that can accommodate your physical limitations.
- The results of any of your assessments show that you are well enough to return to your old job.
Losing your benefits can be disheartening, especially if you don’t feel well enough to return to your job. You may still have legal options, however. An employer cannot stop your benefits without good reason, and you may still be eligible to collect benefits. If you receive a termination of benefits notice, take the following actions:
- Ask for the reason. Sometimes, you may receive a termination of benefits simply because the insurance company contested your rights to them, or that your temporary benefits are ending because of a benefit claim denial.
- Request an appeal. You can contend claim denials and try to collect the benefits to which you are entitled under Arizona law.
- Hire a Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney. Claim appeals are complex legal processes, and an attorney can help you navigate them, increasing the chances for a positive outcome.
The attorneys at Cruz & Associates can help you understand your rights under Arizona workers’ compensation law. Let us review your legal options during a free and confidential legal consultation. To schedule your case review, please contact us.