Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical benefits and wages to workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Minnesota requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Workers’ Compensation Overpayment demystified: It transpires when an injured employee receives funds exceeding legal limits. The root cause—whether it’s due to erroneous data provided by the worker, the employer, or OWCP—doesn’t alter the outcome.
Failing to maintain workers’ compensation coverage results in steep fines for employers and, in some cases, a lawsuit. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 63,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry employment in Minnesota alone.
In fact, Minnesota workers suffered injuries and illnesses at a significantly higher rate than the national average.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation provides the following benefits to ill or injured employees:
- Costs of medical care, including treatment, equipment, supplies, and transportation to and from appointments;
- Lost wages;
- Vocational rehabilitation, including training, education, and support if you need to transition to a new occupation; and
- Death benefits.
Minnesota workers labeled as “employees” rather than “independent contractors” are authorized to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, the employee bears the burden of proving that their illness or injury was caused by work-related factors.
Finally, be sure to notify your employer within 14 days of a workplace accident, or you could lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
The amount of compensation paid to injured or ill workers depends on the level of disability the worker suffers.
Temporary disability benefits are available on a temporary basis to individuals expected to recover from their work-related illness or injury.
A temporary total disability (TTD) is a temporary disability that prevents individuals from working in any capacity for some period of time as a result of their illness or injury.
TTD benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2021 statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) of $1,232. Employees can collect TTD benefits for up to 130 weeks in most circumstances.
An ill or injured individual with a temporary partial disability (TPD) is able to work in a part-time or modified capacity despite their injury.
TPD benefits include two-thirds of the difference between your earnings at full capacity and your modified earnings. The state provides TPD benefits for a maximum of 275 weeks.
A permanent disability occurs when an individual is not expected to fully recover from their work-related illness or injury.
Permanent total disability (PTD) involves injuries/illnesses that are permanent and so severe that they prevent a worker from ever obtaining gainful employment for the remainder of his or her lifetime.
PTD benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2021 SAWW of $1,232. Workers with a permanent total disability receive PTD benefits until they reach retirement age, which Minnesota presumes to be age 72 for injuries after October 2018. .
Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits aim to compensate injured workers for permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function. These benefits are typically not dependent on loss of wages or the individual’s ability to work.
To qualify for PPD, Minnesota requires the injured worker to show that the permanency of the injury is causally related to the injury itself. The amount of PPD benefits depends on the type and severity of permanent disability suffered by the injured worker.
What If I Receive Workers’ Compensation Overpayment?
Workers suffering from severe work-related injuries or illnesses could receive a substantial award of workers’ compensation benefits to cover the cost of their medical costs and rehabilitation, not to mention their lost wages. But what happens if a workers’ comp overpayment lands in your bank account unexpectedly?
Receiving benefits beyond what you are entitled to may seem like a good problem to have. However, if not remedied, a workers’ compensation overpayment creates multiple issues for the injured worker.
Minnesota law allows individuals who receive workers’ compensation to keep the overpayments as long as the individual who received the overpayment did so in good faith.
That means that the individual cannot purposely attempt to defraud the insurance company.
While the workers’ comp overpayment does not have to be returned to the insurance company, the insurance company can adjust future payments to recoup the overpayment by reducing future workers’ compensation checks by no more than 20%.
If you believe an insurance company issued a workers’ compensation overpayment to you, contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to determine what steps you should take next.
Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney in the Event of Overpayment
Since its founding in 2007, the Criminal Defense and Workers’ Compensation Law Office of Arechigo & Stokka has committed its practice to direct, personalized representation coupled with the determination to understand the intricacies of each individual case.
We have helped countless injured workers maximize their recovery and navigate the complicated workers’ compensation claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. Josh was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology. Mr. Stokka alson received his law degree from the Hamline University School of Law. During law school, Josh clerked at a Minnesota law firm specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result. Now, he focuses 100% of his practice on defending injured workers in Minnesota.