Why your “wage earning capacity” matters under Michigan workers compensation

Michigan workers compensation lawyer explains how your wage earning capacity can be used to reduce your wage loss benefits.

Michigan lawmakers have enacted major changes to the workers compensation law. The most important change that you should know about is how your wage loss benefits will be calculated in the future.

If you are totally disabled from work, you should still receive 80% of your after-tax average weekly wage.  If  it is determined that you are only partially disabled and have a wage earning capacity, your wage loss benefits will be reduced.

This means that your employer or its insurance company can reduce your wage loss benefits if it is determined that you can work somewhere else. This is called your wage earning capacity. It does not matter whether you are earning other wages or not. It’s unfair and a bad change to the workers compensation law.

Employability & Wage Earning Capacity Analysis

The issue of wage earning capacity is open to debate. Your employer and its insurance company may think you can work but you might not be able to find a job within your restrictions. The insurance company wants to find that you have a wage earning capacity because it means they can pay you less wage loss benefits.

You will be sent to a vocational rehabilitation counselor for an employability & wage earning capacity analysis. You will be asked about your educational background, work history, and job search efforts.  The vocational rehabilitation counselor will then review medical records, perform a transferable skills analysis, and give an opinion about whether you can find other work.

The vocational rehabilitation counselor is hired by the insurance company and they have an agenda. The employability and wage earning capacity analysis is not always a fair assessment. You may be told that you can work in a field that you have never even considered before or told that a job exists when it does not.

When you should get help with your workers compensation claim

If you are scheduled to see a vocational rehabilitation counselor, you should contact a workers compensation lawyer immediately. Watch out for the Stokes exam or the wage earning capacity assessment. This is the first sign that your employer or its insurance company want to cut your wage loss benefits.

It is important to challenge an unfair vocational assessment. You can hire your own vocational rehabilitation counselor to show that you really don’t have a wage earning capacity. You can also present evidence of a job search to show that work is not reasonably available. An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you with this process.

To speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Michigan, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless workers compensation benefits are recovered for you.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years.  Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to review a case.

Related information:

Warning! New work comp law reduces benefits for injured workers in Michigan

Contact our Michigan workers comp lawyers

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by photologue_np.

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