You can only continue receiving workers’ compensation lost benefits in New York if you demonstrate that you are sufficiently “attached” to the labor market. Employers and insurers alike are often quite concerned by the idea that a worker who could work is instead resting at their expense.
Once a doctor clears you to return to work, you must demonstrate that you’re making reasonable efforts to obtain gainful employment consistent with your medical restrictions.
This could mean returning to work on light duty or part-time when such work is offered or trying to find a new job. This is true even though employers often make every effort to encourage injured workers to leave the workplace because they don’t want to deal with light duty requirements, and it’s true even though employers often flat out ignore light duty requirements and adopt a “take it or leave it” stance when employees complain.
Unfair as it all may seem, you must still demonstrate that you are making honest efforts to get back into the labor market.
The employer or insurance carrier may ask you to demonstrate labor market attachment anytime. You do this by filling out Form C-258, Claimant’s Record of Job Search Efforts/Contacts.
Fill out this form if you’re using services like New York State’s Department of Labor re-employment services, One Stop Career Centers, and are working a network or job search community. You can also use this form if you actively participate in vocational rehabilitation, job retraining, or are pursuing a new degree.
If you are conducting an “independent” search, meaning you are using in-person contact, telephone calls, emails, and web searches only, then you would fill out Form C-258.1, Claimant’s Record of Independent Job Search Efforts.
If you are found to be permanently disabled, you no longer need to demonstrate labor market attachment.
Labor market attachment can be extremely frustrating for workers’ compensation benefits, as often injured workers are pushed to take work at wages far below what they’re used to living on, or assumptions get made about what the worker can do that are not actually realistic for the workers’s capabilities. Getting declared 100% disabled is extremely difficult.
Having a qualified New York workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can help you navigate labor market attachment issues and can help you provide evidence that you have the right to retain your ongoing benefits.
If you’re struggling with your workers’ compensation claim, contact our law office to schedule a free consultation today.