When you return to light duty work after being on total disability compensation for Pennsylvania workers compensation claim, you may be entitled to partial disability benefits if your weekly wage while working light duty is less than the average weekly wage you were earning when you were injured. The test for whether you’re entitled to partial disability compensation is whether your weekly earnings are less, not whether you are earning the same hourly rate of pay as before you were hurt. Sometimes employers do not pay the same hourly rate for light duty work. Many times, employees returning to light duty are denied overtime work such as they were accustomed to getting before they were injured. Also, employees are sometimes denied an opportunity to earn performance bonuses or shift differentials while they are on light duty work status.
In such a case, if you are presented with an agreement to sign which suspends your benefits effective the date you returned to work, don’t sign it. Or if you receive a Notice of Suspension declaring that your benefits are being suspended because you returned to work without a wage loss, you need to take prompt steps to stop this action from having long-term effect by following the instructions printed on the Notice of Suspension on how to challenge the suspension, although it’s probably best to obtain legal advice and representation at this point. By filing a challenge to the suspension of your workers compensation benefits, your case will be scheduled for a hearing before a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge.
When you return to light duty work after a work injury and make less per week than before your injury, the partial disability compensation rate you are due under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act is two-thirds of the difference between what you made per week when you were injured and what you earn per week while working light duty. If you think that you are earning less per week while working light duty on account of a work-related injury, don’t settle for allowing your workers compensation benefits to be suspended when you return to work. If you believe you are improperly being denied partial disability benefits for your workers compensation injury, you can contact us for a free consultation to determine if additional benefits may be available to you.