If you sustain an injury at work, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. If you do, you will go through a few different recovery phases. One of those phases may include a period in which you perform light-duty work.
Per the State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission Information Packet, your physician will release you for light-duty work when he or she determines that your injury no longer qualifies as a “total disability.” Before this can happen though, and before the workers’ compensation insurer can reduce or discontinue your payments, both your insurer and you must take certain administrative steps.
Steps your employer must take
To discontinue your total disability benefits, your employer and/or the insurance company must issue a Form 36 to your Connecticut-licensed physician, who must either sign it or corroborate his or her recommendation with a report. Your employer must send the report and the form via certified mail to the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within the appropriate jurisdiction and you. Unless you contest the physician’s findings, the Commissioner will approve Form 36 within 15 days.
Your “light duty” work guidelines
If you do not contest the physician’s findings, the workers’ compensation insurer will release you for restricted, or “light duty,” work. Once it does, you should adhere to the following procedures:
- Apply for light or restricted work with your employer. Double-check with your physician that the work for which you apply is OK to perform. If your employer does not offer the type of light-duty work your physician approves of, register with the Connecticut Job Service and start looking through it for approved work in your geographical area.
- Let the insurer know about your change in status and make arrangements to send the adjuster a list of your employment contacts each week.
- Confirm with the adjuster that the company will continue to send you checks for your temporary partial benefits for each week that you submit your employment contacts.
- If you find light duty work that pays less than what you normally earned via your regular work, inform the adjuster. The adjuster should adjust your TP amount so that it makes up for the difference in earnings. The law entitles you to receive up to 75% of the difference between your normal wages and what you can make doing light-duty work. To receive this difference, however, you must make copies of your paystubs and send them to the adjuster.
You will continue in this fashion until your physician deems you reached the point of Maximum Medical Improvement and issues a Permanent Partial Disability rating.