Can workers comp affect your retirement package? When you settle for your workers’ compensation, the employer will usually require them to resign. Many employees are concerned about their pension and retirement benefits (flight benefits, monetary bonuses, health insurance coverage etc.). In most cases, workers have worked hard for these benefits and don’t simply want to lose them. The concerns about these rights are valid and the workers should discuss these things in the first consultation with their attorney.
The retirement benefits are considered contractual benefits that fall outside the scope of Georgia Workers’ Compensation. It is best to seek an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney to explain all additional claims that may arise from a workers compensation claim (violations of ERISA or COBRA).
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
A worker may be confronted with a violation of ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) that concerns an employer denying the employee access to health benefits. ERISA was established to assure that employers support their legal responsibilities to their employees about health insurance plans.
Most employee health plans are covered by ERISA and demand employers to provide participants or beneficiaries with access to plan information. ERISA also expects employers to support their fiduciary responsibility to their employees by guaranteeing employers to manage and supervise plans with the best interest of the employees in mind.
You as a worker should be mindful of potential ERISA issues that could occur during the managing of your claim or settlement. ERISA claims are very complicated and even if you have a workers compensation attorney, you might need an ERISA attorney.
Retiring on Workers’ Compensation
If you get injured at work and you need to make a retirement decision, it’s best to do it with the help of skilled workers’ compensation. There is some basic information that you can learn before calling your lawyer including:
Retirement doesn’t necessarily terminate your workers’ compensation. Many workers wonder if they can still get their workers’ compensation benefits, permanent and temporary disability benefits if they retire. This depends on your case. Temporary disability benefits are given to workers who are temporarily unable to work in the same capacity as they did before the accident.
These benefits are given while you heal from the injury and your goal is to get back in shape as you were before the accident. If you’re collecting these benefits and you retired you will likely lose the temporary disability benefits.
When it comes to permanent disability benefits, they are given when the worker is injured to a point where they will no longer be able to work. For most people, these benefits continue even after they retire.
Wait Until You Have Recovered from the Initial Injury Before Retirement
Attorneys will always recommend that you wait to decide about retirement after the dust has settled after your injury. What you can do at this point is follow the medical treatment for your injury and allow it to heal. When the first treatment phase is finished, your doctor will conduct an assignment to determine how your injury healed (if it is going to affect your work at all, or will you remain unable to return to the old position).
If your doctor decides that you have a permanent disability, you should inform your company. In case they are not able to find a way for you to keep working with your disability, then you have a case that your injury caused you to retire, so you can keep your permanent disability benefits.
What if You Have to Quit Working But Your Workers’ Comp Is Denied?
There are many unwanted situations where things don’t go as planned. In such a case, then you might still be able to get permanent disability benefits but you will have to make a convincing argument that your injury has left you permanently disabled. Temporary disability benefits are a very unlikely scenario on the other hand.
To accomplish this, you have to collaborate with a skilled attorney who has experience with such cases. It’s important to act soon and hire a workers’ compensation attorney right after the accident. Although some injuries take time before the doctor can tell if you are permanently injured or not, it’s always a smart idea to have a good attorney by your side.
If you were recently injured and fear that you may not get the right outcome of your case our team at Workers Compensation Attorneys is here for you. Call and schedule your first consultation.