Question: What are other benefits I may be entitled to if I have an established claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC)?
Answer: There are multiple benefits that may be available to you if you are off work under doctor’s written instructions due to injuries in your claim – or even if you miss no time! We will address some benefits herein and others in future columns.
First, you may apply for Temporary Total compensation (TT) in lieu of lost wages. These amounts are paid from the eighth day of continuous disability through the fourteenth day, or if the disability is over two weeks, then TT will be payable from the first day. The TT is tax free and payable at 72% of your wages (subject to certain maximums) for the first twelve weeks and at 66-2/3% of your wages after twelve weeks of continuous disability. There are certain OBWC forms necessary to apply for this benefit which you can obtain from the OBWC website www.ohiobwc.com or they will send them to you. However, if your company is a “self-insurer” and maintains its own workers’ compensation department they will provide them to you. The self insurer typically has a department to handle your claim.
Another benefit! If you are still experiencing residual pain or other disability after 26 weeks have elapsed since the injury date, or the date of your last TT payment, you may apply for a determination of Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) whether or not you are still with the same employer. The OBWC will set you up with a free examination with an independent doctor who will write an opinion as to your extent, if any, of disability.
Thereafter you will receive a notice of the amount of any PPD compensation you are entitled to. You have the automatic right to appeal the decision if you are not satisfied and a hearing at one of the Industrial Commission of Ohio’s (ICO) offices will be scheduled where you may present additional medical evidence. Written findings of your PPD award will be mailed to you and you even have the right to file an additional appeal (Reconsideration) if you still are not satisfied with the ICO findings.
This particular form of compensation extends the life of your claim and is not a final settlement. Any paid medical bills or compensation payment will extend the life of your claim.
You may file a claim or a motion for additional allowances of injuries or applications for additional PPD, or payment of medical bills, within five years of the date of the last medical payment or payment of TT or any other compensation in your claim (10 years for injuries sustained prior to 8/25/06). After those dates your claim is closed by Ohio law.
This is not intended to be a complete restatement of the law, but is intended to help claimants be aware of possible entitlements. Medical care may be pre-authorized by your medical provider applying in writing to the OBWC using the same statutes of limitations outlined above.
Future columns will detail even more ways to use your claim for additional benefits.
You and your attorney, if any, must be proactive in these matters. The OBWC will not notify you of these options!
The above can be somewhat confusing so do not hesitate to call my office with questions. There is no charge for telephone consultations.