For the vast majority of workers’ compensation claims, at some point down the road you’re likely going to receive a letter stating that your payments are going to cease at a certain date. This letter is called a Notice of Intention to Discontinue, oftentimes simply referred to as a NOID. So why are you receiving this letter, and what can you do if you think your benefits are being incorrectly discontinued? We explain your options for handling NOIDs in this blog.
Why Are My Benefits Ending?
There are a number of reasons why a person might receive a Notice of Intention to Discontinue. Here’s a few examples why your work comp benefits might be coming to a close:
- Your Temporary Benefits Expire – As the name Temporary Total Disability implies, these benefits won’t continue forever. Under Minnesota law, TTD benefits can be paid for a maximum of 130 weeks.
- You’re Back At Work – TTD benefits pay your a portion of your average weekly salary while you’re out of work. If you are back at work and earning the same amount of money as you were prior to your injury, the insurance company will send a NOID to inform you that you’re no longer eligible for benefits.
- You’re Back To Earning Your Pre-Injury Wage – Just because you return to work doesn’t mean that your benefits stop. If you can’t work as many hours as you could before your injury, or your role has changed and you earn less than you did before your injury, you’re still entitled to some work comp. However, if you eventually reach or exceed your pre-injury wage, you will no longer be able to claim wage loss benefits.
- IME Clearance – Some workers’ compensation claims are based on the findings during an independent medical exam (IME). If the treating physician finds that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, your TTD benefits can be cut within 90 days. Similarly, if the IME physician suggests that your injury has healed to the point that you no longer need certain work restrictions, wage loss benefits may be terminated. The majority of cases contesting a NOID center around IMEs and doctor recommendations.
What Should I Do If I Receive A NOID?
If you’ve received a NOID, read it carefully to ensure you understand why your benefits are being terminated. If you’re back at work and receiving the same pay as you were prior to your injury, it’s pretty cut and dry. However, if you believe the NOID was issued in error, or you disagree with their ruling, the first thing you should do is contact your workers’ compensation attorney.
You’ll want to do this as soon as possible, because NOIDs typically only have a short time frame to contest the issuance. Your attorney will get a copy of the NOID and request a conference to discuss the discontinuance. You can do this on your own without an attorney, but you’ll want someone experienced in work comp law to be able to argue your case if you feel you are being wronged. No matter the outcome at the conference, either side (you or the insurance company) can appeal the ruling at a formal hearing.
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