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Employers’ comp practice of cutting off benefits attacked (access required)

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission is considering whether it’s been doing things wrong for decades in allowing employers to cut off benefits for injured workers when the employers ask for rulings on their requests to end benefits. The commission heard arguments for nearly three hours Sept. 28 in three combined cases on the issue of whether ...

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  1. This issue is much more than about a return to work. Employers have engaged in unilateral suspension of benefits if they “think” the injured worker is no longer disabled, or isn’t looking for work hard enough, or they claim he or she has refused medical attention or a “light-duty” job. These issues are always controversial but suspensions still take place before the issue is decided by the Commission.
    And this argument that the Commission has for 40 year “interpreted its rules to allow suspension” is simply untrue. The Rules have changed dramatically at least three times in the last 40 years (1972, 1981, and 1994) and the interpretations of the courts and the Commission have been different with each change.
    The big question is: who is the real loser here? Corporations who stand to lose at most only money? Or injured workers who stand to lose their homes, their possessions, their credit rating and their dignity?

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