In Pennsylvania, a workers’ compensation insurance carrier can stop payment of temporary workers’ compensation benefits without a hearing, just by TIMELY filing a Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation (LIBC-501). There are very strict requirements regarding the time periods the workers’ compensation insurance carrier has to properly revoke a Notice of Temporary Compensation. If not timely revoked, the revocation (i.e., the Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation is invalid and a Judge will place you back on compensation very swiftly) becomes invalid and the Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation converts to a regular Notice of Compensation Payable. First, the carrier must revoke the Notice of Temporary Compensation payable within 90 days of payment of compensation. Secondly, the law requires that before stopping benefits, the Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation must be sent or filed no later than five days after the last payment of compensation. Section 404.1(d)(5)(i) provides: If the employer ceases making payments pursuant to a Notice of Compensation Payable, a notice…shall be sent to the claimant and a copy filed with the department, but in no event shall this notice be sent or filed later than five days after last payment.” If not timely, Section 406.1(d)(6) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act states: “If the employer does not file a notice under paragraph 5…the employer shall be deemed to have admitted liability and the Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable shall be converted to a Notice of Compensation Payable”. Generally, benefits can not be stopped under a regular Notice of Compensation Payable except by a Judge’s order after due process or by an agreement to a lump sum settlement. They cannot be unilaterally stopped just because the carrier thinks the injured worker is all better, can work, has been offered work, has fully recovered or if the adjuster has a bad hair day.
In a recent case, a Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., client was being paid workers’ compensation benefits per a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable. A Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation was issued on December 6, 2013. However, the last payment of temporary compensation benefits was issued on November 25, 2013 and received on November 30, 2013.
The Calhoon legal argument before the WC Judge was that the Notice Stopping of Temporary Compensation Payable was clearly late, as it was issued more than five days after the receipt of the last payment of compensation benefits. The Liberty Mutual attorney argued that the Notice was timely because the insurance company had to wait for the employer to report claimant’s earnings in order to calculate her last temporary compensation check. Thus, Liberty Mutual urged the Judge that it had to wait until December 6, 2013 to determine if claimant was owed additional benefits. The Calhoon argument in response to this was two-fold: First, claimant did report her earnings on a timely basis; and second, the law states that “in no event” shall the notice be sent more than five days after the last check. The Calhoon team argued that the entire law sounds in equity, meaning that since the law allows workers’ compensation benefits to be cut off without a hearing, the insurance company must demonstrate “clean hands” by adhering to the letter of the law.
By decision dated May 20, 2014, a Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed, finding both claimant and her legal team’s arguments to be correct, and quickly awarded benefits. This is an important decision for several reasons. First, the claimant was properly awarded ongoing workers’ compensation benefits which she desperately needed. Second, the Calhoon Team was able to establish a significant legal precedent that the workers’ compensation law should be read as remedial legislation where the claimant is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Finally, the Judge was interested and involved in the case and responded favorably to cogent, detailed, legal and factual arguments made by claimants’ lawyers, Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C.
The law firm of Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., represents injured workers and Social Security Disability applicants throughout Pennsylvania, including (but not limited to): Allentown, Altoona, Bellefonte, Bethlehem, Bloomsburg, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Easton, Enola, Fayetteville, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hazelton, Hollidaysburg, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lewisburg, Lewistown, McConnellsburg, Mechanicsburg, Mifflintown, Millersburg, Milton, New Bloomfield, Newport, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pottsville, Reading, Scranton, Shippensburg, State College, Sunbury, Uniontown, Washington, Wellsboro, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, York and all cities and towns in Adams County, Allegheny County, Berks County, Blair County, Bucks County, Centre County, Chester County, Clinton County, Columbia County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Huntingdon County, Juniata County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Mifflin County, Montgomery County, Northumberland County, Perry County, Philadelphia County, Schuylkill County, Tioga County, Union County, Washington County and York County, Pennsylvania.
Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C.
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110