Morgan’s Tip of the Week – Impairment Benefits

Greetings, lately I have received a few questions about impairment benefits (AKA permanent impairment benefits, IB’s or PIB’s).

  • When are they due?   Per 440.15(3)(a) they first payment is due 14 (calendar) days after the carrier has knowledge of the rating.  So the clock starts when you receive the rating from the provider (date stamped at the carrier, not your desk).   Attachment to a PFB would count.
  • The max comp rate applies to IB’s.   If they are not working or earning their AWW, the rate is 75% of “average weekly temporary total disability benefit” not to exceed the maximum weekly benefit under 440.12 (max CR section).
  • They are paid bi-weekly but calculated weekly.  (Why, I don’t know!)  Benefits are reduced by 50%  (cut the 75% of AWW payment in half, aka 37.5%) for any week the claimant earns his AWW or greater.   So you do need to check each week on earnings to avoid late/underpayments.

I recommend sending dwc-19’s to the claimant for IB’s.  There is no P and I on late/underpayments if they are not returned, and the Fla Admin code specifically says they can be used for IB’s.

  • Per the Gauthier case, the SOL will not run if the E/C does not obtain or make the effort to obtain the rating.  I know the frustration of a doctor who won’t assign the rating till the claimant returns and they wont show up.   If you pay an estimated rating, that is probably sufficient to start the SOL clock.  You can always obtain an IME or even a peer review to calculate the rating.

As always let me know if you have any questions.

Morgan  Indek | Partner