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Monday, August 13, 2012

Employer Not Permitted to Stop Temporary Disability Benefits When Social Security Disability Awarded

An employer cannot stop paying workers' compensation benefits merely because the injured worker was awarded Social Security Disability benefits. In fact, the premature termination of temporary disability benefits was adequate grounds for a NJ compensation court to levy fines and penalties upon the employer.

The NJ Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling of Judge of Compensation George F. Geist who assessed a penalty upon the employer for defying an Order of the Court to pay workers' compensation temporary disability benefits.

The employer' attorney argued that the employer was permitted to unilaterally terminate temporary disability benefits since the Social Security Administration had awarded the the injured worker disability benefits. The employer asserted that by accepting the award from Social Security the claimant had removed himself from the workforce. No supporting law was offered to support that proposition and the compensation court awarded a 25% penalty and simple interest against the employer.

Ferguson v Trenton Board of Education (NJ App. Div. 20112)