Can You Get a Cash Advance on Your workers’ Compensation Benefits?
A quick infusion of cash can be a lifeline temporarily, but it usually just masks a bigger problem. If a cash payment of several hundred or several thousand dollars didn’t solve problems at least in the short term, then the whole country wouldn’t be holding its breath for another round of COVID-19 stimulus checks. In some circumstances, injured workers whose workers’ compensation cases are pending can get cash advances of up to $2,000 on their workers’ compensation benefits. As with so many other aspects of workers’ compensation, employers can and do try to get out of paying the advances. If you are involved in a dispute with your employer about a cash advance on your workers’ compensation benefits, contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
Meghan and the Independent Medical Examination
Meghan worked full-time as a deputy sheriff and took on overtime assignments when they were available, such that, before her injury, she earned about $75,000 per year. In 2014, she suffered a work injury that required her to take a two-week leave of absence from work and then be reassigned to light duty for nine months before returning to her pre-accident duties. She had a permanent impairment rating of at least one percent, but the percentage of her permanent impairment was a matter of dispute between her and her employer.
In 2017, she filed a petition for continued medical care. One of the things she requested in the petition was a $2,000 cash advance, so she could pay for an independent medical examination, presumably so the examiner could assess the percentage of her permanent impairment. The employer denied the request, and Meghan filed an appeal. In its denial of her request for an advance, the employer stated that Meghan had not demonstrated a genuine need for the money because she had not proven that her income had decreased as a result of her injury. To support that argument, it stated that Meghan had returned to her pre-accident job duties and pre-accident salary less than a year after the accident. It went on to say that Meghan’s income had decreased since the accident, but her injuries were not the reason. Rather, she had given birth to two children since 2014, and she no longer took many overtime assignments, spending her time outside of her usual work hours caring for her young children.
In this case, the appeals court supported the employer’s decision not to give Meghan the cash advance, but it was because she had not stated clearly enough in her petition that she would be using the money for the cash advance. In its decision, the court reasoned that the claimant need not “live like a pauper” in order to be eligible for a cash advance on workers’ compensation benefits.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If your employer is dragging its feet about paying your workers’ compensation benefits and refuses to approve a cash advance, a Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer can help you. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for help with your case.