In this economy many workers are being asked to take early retirement and are being given various incentive packages to do so. I have been asked by several of my clients if they take the retirement package would they be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in the future. The answer is yes.
In cases of voluntary termination, the injured worker’s right to wage loss benefits is suspended until the injured worker can show that the work-related disability is the cause for the inability to find or hold new employment. This can be established by work restrictions and an active job search on the part of the injured worker.
In Boutto v. U.S. Steel Corp, the court stated that :
An injured worker is not forever bound to his employer in order to retain his entitlement to benefits, and, where the employee was subject to restrictions related to his work injury at all times during the period of this claim, the fact that the employee accepted an early retirement incentive from his employer while still physically able to perform his post-injury job with the employer was not relevant to the question of whether the employee’s loss of earning capacity in his post-retirement job was causally related to the work injury…
If you decide to take an early retirement and leave your job, your retirement will have no relevance on your workers’ compensation claim.