PA 07-80—sSB 1036

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING NOTIFICATION TO INJURED EMPLOYEES OF THE DISCONTINUATION OR REDUCTION OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS

SUMMARY: This act extends, from 10 to 15 days, the period during which an employee can request a hearing after receiving a workers' compensation benefit reduction or discontinuation notice. By law, the employee has the right to request such a hearing. If there is no request, benefits are automatically reduced or discontinued. The act also requires that certain additional information be included in the form notifying an employee of the pending reduction or discontinuation.

It also increases the maximum penalty, from $500 to $1,000, for an employer's or insurer's undue delay of a compensation payment due to such party's fault or neglect. The act permits the compensation commissioner hearing the claim to assess the penalty for each delay.

The act requires the penalty be paid to the claimant, but existing law requires all fines and penalties collected under this provision be paid to the treasurer and deposited in the Second Injury Fund.

It also makes a conforming change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

NEW NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

In addition to the existing notification requirements (such as stating the employee's name and employer) the act requires the notice to identify:

1. the employee's attorney or other representative;

2. the insurer;

3. the injury, its nature, and the date it occurred; and

4. the city or town in which the injury occurred.

(In practice, the prior form used by the Workers' Compensation Commission required this information. )

The notice must also include medical documentation that establishes the basis for discontinuing or reducing benefits and identifies the employee's attending physician. Under prior law, the employer had to state the reason for the reduction or discontinuation of benefits, and the “attending surgeon” had to sign the form and indicate what kind of work the employee could perform.

NEW REQUIRED LANGUAGE

The act requires that the notice form include the following statement:

“If you object to the reduction or discontinuation of benefits as stated in this notice, YOU MUST REQUEST A HEARING NOT LATER THAN 15 DAYS after your receipt of this notice, or this notice will automatically be approved.

Under prior law, the form had to state: “The employee may request a hearing by the compensation commissioner on the discontinuance or reduction set forth in this notice within 10 days of receipt of this notice.

In addition, the new required language specifies that the employee (1) must call the workers' compensation district office handling the claim to request a hearing, (2) must be prepared to provide medical and other documentation to support the claim, and (3) should note the date the notice was received. This language was not required under prior law, although in practice the prior form advised employees to be prepared to provide medical documentation at the hearing to support their claim.

OLR Tracking: JM: JR: PF: TS