Once the insurance company starts paying weekly benefits, they are supposed to continue making payments unless:
- You return to work
- The Industrial Commission grants the defendants permission to stop payments
- You die
- You settle your case
- 500 weeks pass
If you have not returned to work, in order for a workers' compensation insurer to legitimately suspend or terminate benefits, they must first file a Form 24 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. If an employee fails to report their workers' compensation benefits as earnings to the insurance carrier, a Form 90 may also be submitted to the state Industrial Commission and benefits may be suspended or terminated this way as well.
What Do These Forms Do?
The Form 24
This is a defendants' "Application to Suspend or Terminate Benefits." The insurance company is required to fill in a blank indicating the date by which you must respond, which is 17 days from the day the form was mailed to you. If you respond in the allotted time, the Industrial Commission will conduct a telephonic hearing during which you will be able to argue for a continuation of your benefits.
If you fail to respond within 17 days, the Industrial Commission will permit the termination of benefits automatically.
Insurance companies sometimes send Form 24 to unrepresented claimants, especially if they hear that an injured worker has moved. Obviously, you cannot respond to what you never get. The Industrial Commission, of course, doesn't know any better when it allows the termination of benefits.
The Form 90
This works similarly to the Form 24 in the sense that it allows an insurance carrier to suspend or terminate workers' compensation benefits. The insurance company is permitted to ask you to sign under oath that either you haven't worked, or if you have, how much you earned. The insurance company may do this once every six months.
You must respond to the Form 90 within 30 days of receiving it. You will know you have received it because it will be sent to you by certified mail with a green return receipt card for you to sign. If you fail to respond within 30 days, the Industrial Commission will grant the defendants' request to suspend your benefits.
Get Legal Representation Now – Contact Our Firm
Whether you've received a Form 24 or a Form 90, know that you are receiving one because the insurance company is questioning whether or not you should continue receiving benefits for your work-related injury or illness. These two forms are considered warning signs of more legal trouble ahead, which is why obtaining a lawyer is a good idea.
To talk to an attorney from The Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, contact us online or call our Hickory office at 828-848-8776 or toll free at 888-321-0494. Your initial consultation will be free.