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B.R., Queens

Off The Record – Workers’ Comp New Physical Restrictions

Video Transcript

Hi. So one of the issues that has come up recently for people, well, it’s come up over the years, when I work with my clients. And they get confused sometimes about what to do with this. So I did wanna offer some guidance. Sometimes people are in a job, in a field where they do some heavy work, some physical work, in particular. And their doctor will clear them to do light-duty work, meaning they can’t do their regular full work that they did because of some physical restrictions, but they can do light work.

So, what happens is we advise them to approach their employer and see if there is any light work available within the company. And recently, one of my clients did that. And the employer said that they did not have any light-duty work for them. That being said, if they don’t have any light-duty work, the person wants to know, well, what am I supposed to do? Can I stay on compensation benefits? Can I collect unemployment? And my answer would be this, you can and should inquire about filing for unemployment. Even if you’re still employed by the company, if you’re ready, willing, and able to do light work, but the company does not have anything available to you, and you need a means of income, then you should take it upon yourself to file for unemployment benefits to see if you’re eligible.

There are different circumstances for everyone. So I tell them, you know, it’s a case by case basis. You really have to just look and see what your eligibility is. And then if something comes up with your job in terms of like duty or if you’re well enough to go back full duty, then you can cross that bridge when you come to it. You do also have the right to look for other work within your restrictions. And you should. That does not, you know, hurt your… People say, “Does that hurt my case?” No, workers’ comp case is meant to cover you for medical treatment and disability benefits if you can’t work. If you’re ready, willing, and able to do work, whether it be light or full duty, and your employer doesn’t have anything available, then it is within your rights, and sometimes in your obligation, to look for work within your restrictions.

Okay. We’ve talked about this before with people. If you have a partial disability, and the board deems you have a partial disability, and your doctor and or the insurance doctor do, sometimes an obligation attaches to look for work within your restrictions in order to maintain your workers’ compensation benefits. So these are some tricky and difficult things for people to navigate, especially when you’ve been doing the same work for many years. That’s why we wanna let people know that you do have a lot of options. And as always, you should reach out to us to discuss all of these different issues as they come up. Before you make any decisions on your own, if you’re uncertain, it’s always best to get our guidance before you do that. Okay? Thank you.

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