While the vast majority of workers’ compensation cases and payouts in Colorado and around the country are legitimate, there are some who take advantage of the system.
Take an Ohio woman for example who recently plead guilty to workers’ compensation fraud.
Specifically, the woman was discovered to be holding another job as a bartender at Coshocton Vetearns of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1330 while receiving permanent total disability (PTD) benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
The Ohio agency began investigating the defendant after receiving reports in 2009 that she was working at the VFW post. Their investigation concluded she started working there in late 2008.
She’s been receiving disability benefits since 2006.
Indicted this past August, the woman pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony last week in an Ohio courtroom.
“Permanent Total Disability benefits are reserved for those who physically are not capable of returning to employment,” said BWC Administrator Steve Buehrer. “It is unfortunate that anyone would attempt to take advantage of this benefit when those truly in need of PTD are often facing a difficult future after being severely injured and sadly having no prospect of returning to their livelihoods.”
As part of her plea deal, the defendant agreed to repay nearly $20,000 in benefits she received as well as $500 in investigative costs to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Colorado certainly has its fair share of cases like these. While it’s unclear whether this person willfully broke the law or not, her actions certainly cancelled any benefits she was receiving.
Remember, permanent disability benefits are for those who cannot work at all. It’s illegal – whether intentionally done out of greed or unintentionally out of ignorance – to hold a job while receiving these benefits.
If you feel you’re well enough to return to work in some form, you should look at changing how your benefits are setup (…partial disability) and be careful in the kind of job you take.
If it’s discovered you’re working at a job that’s just as strenuous as the one that got you injured, workers’ compensation insurers in Colorado and elsewhere are going to get mighty suspicious and probably blow the whistle on you.