By Christopher Bridgman, Esq.
Temporary disability benefits are often paid at a higher weekly rate when compared to the rate for a permanency award. Therefore, it is critical to terminate temporary disability benefits when the law allows.
Under New Jersey law, here are five situations when you can terminate temporary disability benefits and move towards resolving the claim:
When the petitioner reaches maximum medical improvement (even with permanent restrictions).
A return to full time studies in college.
If the petitioner refuses to attend an IME until the petitioner attends a rescheduled evaluation.
When the respondent offers modified duty work based on the restrictions of the authorized treating physician (regardless of whether the petitioner accepts the job).
After 400 weeks.
New Jersey does not have a statutory scheme for temporary partial disability benefits. However, there is a growing trend for Judges to award the difference between a petitioner’s gross wages while on light duty and the rate for temporary disability.
Alas, if you accidentally pay temporary disability benefits beyond one of the above situations, most Judges will allow a credit for the overpayment against a permanent disability award. Counsel should be made aware of any overpayments.