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Monday, February 6, 2012

Court Holds That Social Security Decision Does Not Terminate An Order for Temporary Disability Payments

A NJ Appellate Court upheld that a trial judge's ruling that a decision of the Social Security Administration awarding total disability beenfits did not terminate a workers' compensation order for temporary disability payments. Furthermore, the the court upheld Workers' Compensation Judge George Geist's ruling imposing a penalty against the employer for prematurely terminating benefits.

Judge Geist had reasoned at trial:

"First of all, I want to remind you we are in New Jersey. “An injured employee is entitled to temporary disability benefits from the date of his injury in the course of his employment to the earliest of several dates set by various physicians as the time when such disability ceased.”There is no cessation. There is a continuation of treatment. Every one of the reports shows only continuation of treatment.... The words “[has reached] maximum medical improvement” are nonexistent...."

"Next, the judge rejected BOE's assertion that Ferguson's receipt of SSD benefits entitled BOE to refuse to pay workers' compensation benefits. He reasoned that BOE lacked the authority to disregard a court order, but had done so nonetheless."

Ferguson v. Trenton Board of Education,  2012 WL 330935 (N.J.Super.A.D.), Decided Feb. 3, 2012.