Employability & Wage Earning Capacity : A Full Analysis
One of the top concerns of a worker who incurred an injury at work that resulted in physical impairment is whether they are still eligible to continue their job or able to collect workers compensation. An injury is serious if it has rendered him incapacitated to do the same kind of job. When this happens, he might be anxious about finding another source of income. This is particularly troubling if he became incapacitated to do all kinds of job that suit his training and qualifications.
That’s when employability and wage-earning capacity evaluation may come into play. Employers and insurance companies are usually the ones to request this type of assessment.
Under MCL Section 301, an employee’s wage-earning capacity is their ability to earn a job that is reasonably available to him. This is regardless of whether the wage is actually earned or not. The injured employee must seek available work within his post-injury abilities, especially if the present employer is unable to accommodate his restrictions.
What Is It and Why It Matters
The Wage Earning Capacity Evaluation is an assessment of your qualifications, training, and previous work history, taking into account your present medical information and residual abilities. The assessment aims to establish your current wage-earning capacity and your transferable skills. It also determines if there are any reasonably available jobs within your area that is suitable for you.
As an injured employee, you have the right to the benefits provided under the Worker’s Disability and Compensation Act:
- If the personal injury that resulted in total disability and wage loss occurred during the course of employment, you are entitled to 80% of your after-tax average weekly wage. You shall be paid for the duration of the disability.
- However, if the personal injury resulted in partial disability and wage loss, you are entitled to 80% of the difference between your after-tax average weekly wage before the injury and your wage-earning capacity after the injury. You shall be paid for the duration of the disability.
- This compensation is paid only for an injury that exceeds seven days. You shall be entitled to benefits on the 8th day after the personal injury.
- For the disability that lingered for two weeks or longer, you should receive compensation from the first day of your disablement. Payment shall be made available by the 14th day of disability. Take note that the benefit check may take longer than 14 days; it could even arrive on the 30th day after the due date. This delay can happen sometimes and not considered late.
- This compensation benefits shall continue for as long as you are disabled, which could be for the rest of your life.
- This benefit can decrease or stop altogether on various grounds. Among these grounds are the refusal to any bona fide reasonable employment offer, and the grant of Social Security retirement benefits.
- This compensation benefit is not subject to either state or federal income tax unless the payments have long been delayed and have gained interest. The payment of interest may be subject to both state and federal income tax.
Workers’ compensation benefits are vital for employees who have incurred personal injury that may leave them incapacitated. It serves as a buffer for all the medical costs, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation if necessary. It’s also a blanket of protection for when the worker is unable to attain employment because of a medical condition that disables him to earn a wage.
Stokes Evaluation: The Issue
Vocational experts perform employability and wage-earning capacity analysis at an insurance company’s behest. Commonly referred to as Stokes Evaluation, this process has been debated on for being unjust to the injured employee.
According to some special interest groups, disabled employees were not doing their best to search for alternate employment. This assertion prompted Michigan lawmakers to enact major changes to the workers’ compensation law in 2011. Now, employers or insurance companies can reduce or halt your wage loss benefits.
Whether or not you have found a new job, as long as the vocational rehabilitation counselor decides that there exists a job within your restrictions and your area, even if there is none or there is but with no open positions, the insurance company can reduce your benefits. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are earning other wages. The job just has to be there, as declared by the counselor. This practice is might sound unfair, but you can protect yourself against this biased scheme. You just need a legal expert to guide and support you.
Let Our Experienced Lawyers Be Your Ally
The Clark Law Office dedicates itself to representing people and not the insurance companies. With 30 years of experience and solid success, you can be sure that we will help you challenge the unfair earning capacity assessment. Contact or visit us and let us help you recover the best compensation that you deserve.