My Workers’ Compensation checks are late; Is there anything I can do?
Our office often receives this question. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, your Employer or Workers’ Compensation Carrier is required to either accept or deny Your Work Injury claim within 21 days of Notice of the injury and begin issuing benefits.
If your claim is accepted within this 21 day period, your first Workers’ Compensation check is immediately due. Weekly checks are then due on a weekly basis or biweekly basis, just as you received wages when working. Section 308 of the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act provides:
…all compensation payable under this article shall be payable in periodic
installments, as the wages of the Employee were payable before the injury.
In other words, if you were paid on a weekly basis, your workers’ compensation payments are due on a weekly basis. If you were paid biweekly, your workers’ compensation payments are due on a biweekly basis. If you received your weekly wage check on Friday, your workers’ compensation check is due on Friday.
Many insurance carriers will pay outside or different from the periodical payments of the Employer. Our office fields these calls and regularly corresponds with workers compensation insurance carriers demanding that benefits are paid in a timely manner to our clients.
In addition, many workers’ compensation carriers have started to offer direct deposit. This is not specifically required by the Statute.
If and when workers’ compensation checks are not paid in a timely manner, a Penalty Petition can be filed against the Employer and/or workers’ compensation carrier demanding timely payment of benefits, statutory interest at the rate of 10% per annum on past due benefits, plus penalties of up to 50% of the late payment and payment of your attorney fees. Once a Penalty Petition is filed it will be assigned to a Judge who will conduct a hearing. At the hearing, evidence is taken which can include copies of the envelopes showing the postmark as well as testimony related to the date the check(s) was received and the pay period for which it was due. It is important to maintain records of when payments were received if you wish to establish that the workers’ compensation carrier is violating the Act.
It is important to understand your rights under the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act. If your checks are not received in a timely manner, please contact our office for a free consultation at 717-238-1657.