Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits in the Mail. What should I do now?

I was reminded about the importance of having an attorney review Notices of Intent to Discontinue benefits (NOIDs) after meeting with a new client this afternoon. An attorney who has been handling workers compensation cases as long as myself can look at a NOID and usually find a deficiency or mistake that can help avoid the IMMEDIATE cessation of benefits. If you receive wage loss benefits YOU WILL RECEIVE A NOID at some point in your claim if the insurer is compliant with Minnesota’s Workers Compensation Laws.

When you receive a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits (NOID), you should probably contact an attorney to simply have them review it to ensure you don’t have any defenses. At MN Disability, attorney Tom Atkinson will review your NOID for FREE! The Notice of Intent to Discontinue benefits should be sent to you by mail, along with any supporting documents with which they are relying to stop you benefit payments. The document must also state in clear and concise language the basis for which they intend to discontinue your wage loss benefits.

Insurers often attempt to discontinue temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits for a variety of reasons. The most usual reasons are: reaching Maximum Medical Improvement, your return to work at full or reduced wages, release from work restrictions, or failure to cooperate with rehabilitation efforts. As in the case with my client today, the insurance company’s basis to discontinue benefits was improper on its face. In this instance the medical information referenced in the NOID was not attached by the inexperienced out of state claims handler. This error was compounded by other errors that will allow for additional defenses in the future.

As with most employee’s, you will receive no warning of the receipt of Notice of Intent to Discontinue your benefits. You simply find a letter from your workers compensation insurer along with a two page NOID with a sentence or two attempting to explain why your benefits are terminated. You have a right to immediately object to discontinuance. Though there are some exceptions, if you are not represented, you should IMMEDIATELY call the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry at 1-800-342-5354 to object by telephone. Next, immediately contact an attorney to review the Notice of Intention to Discontinue benefits. If you do not prevail at the conference, it is a long road to appeal the decision and have the matter heard by a workers compensation judge. Though the time frame can vary, if you do not appeal the NOID within 12 days, you will need to retain an attorney to file an Objection to Discontinue benefits or file a Claim Petition.

Failure to object to a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits can significantly delay your receipt of temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits. I strongly urge you take allow an attorney to provide a FREE review of your NOID to discuss options to the termination of you benefits. Attorney Tom Atkinson with MN Disability will directly take your call at 651-324-9514 EVERY DAY of the week. Don’t wait until Monday morning, call him today.