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Employers Challenge Lump-Sum Payments in Certain Comp Disability Situations

The case the New York court heard includes four workers who were injured before a March 2007 deadline that allowed them to receive unlimited benefit weeks.

October 21, 2011
Related Topics: Top Stories - Frontpage, Workers' Compensation, Medical Benefits Law, Disability Benefits, Policies and Procedures, Compensation, Benefits, Latest News
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The New York Court of Appeals has heard arguments in a case that could limit lump-sum payments for some permanent partial disability benefits in the state.

The appeal relates to a provision in New York state's workers' compensation law that capped permanent partial disability benefits for claimants after March 31, 2007, and a separate provision that required employers to deposit PPD awards into the state's Aggregate Trust Fund after July 1, 2007, according to a summary on the court's website.

The sections were included in New York's 2007 workers' comp reform legislation. The case the court heard Oct. 18 includes four workers who were injured before the March deadline, which allowed them to receive unlimited benefit weeks.

However, their awards were received after the July deadline, and their employers argued that the lump-sum payment provision should not apply in these cases, according to court records.

In particular, the employers contend that deposits into the Aggregate Trust Fund should apply only to workers whose benefits were limited after the March 2007 deadline. They also argued that lump-sum payments are improper because it would be difficult to predict the future value of each worker's uncapped PPD claims.

Employers involved in the case include United Rentals Aerial Equipment Inc., Gould Pumps ITT, Landmark Chrysler and Duke's Plumbing and Sewer Service Inc. They seek to make periodic PPD payments to each of the four claimants.

The New York State Workers' Compensation Board directed the companies to make lump-sum PPD payments, and a state appellate court affirmed that decision last year.

Sheena Harrison writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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