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If I return to light duty work after a job injury but cannot perform the light duty job and I am forced to suspend my work, MUST the insurance company re-start my benefits?

You are now dealing with a section of the law OCGA 34-9-240 called the “240 Rule”.

Insurance companies describe it as their way to COMPEL you to return to work to a light and limited approved job so that your claim does not turn into a “long term disability case”.

Your benefits must be reinstated if you cannot handle the job for 15 days after you attempt to return to work. However, there are many roadblocks thrown up by the insurance company so as to not restart your benefits. As it is stated on one insurance company lawyer's website, “If the employee does not complete the 15 day grace period but the reason is unrelated to the work injury (some personal reason) then the aggressive position is that benefits do not need to be recommenced because the basis for the claimant being no longer employed is not related to the suitability or availability of light duty work.”

(Constangy, Brook website)

Insurance companies will aggressively push the employers to re-hire or accommodate the injured worker, not out of any altruistic or pure humanistic motive, but as a way to force a suspension of the worker's weekly benefits. What seems to happen next, is the employer harasses the employee to the point where the employee wants to quit the job or the employer fires the partially disabled worker for a reason allegedly “unrelated” to the light duty job. This double barreled hit on the employee borders on the unethical but the law permits this situation all under the guise of “helping” the workers find some work instead of staying home and drawing disability benefits.   

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