Hanson v. S.D. Warren Co., et al., No. WCB-09-465 (Maine 06/08/10).
Ruling: The Maine Supreme Court ruled that a hearing officer correctly calculated the benefits payable to a retired control room operator.
What it means:
Workers' compensation benefits must be reduced to the statutory maximum before any pension offset is calculated.
Summary: A control room operator worked for the employer for 30 years. He suffered from shortness of breath which was diagnosed as occupational asthma. The operator could not work in environments where he would be exposed to gases, dust or fumes.He attempted to return to work but was unable to do so. His employment was terminated, and shortly after, he began to receive pension benefits. The operator filed for workers' compensation benefits and was awarded partial benefits. The operator sought a review because he disagreed on how the benefits were calculated. The Maine Supreme Court ruled that workers' compensation benefits should be reduced to the statutory maximum before taking a pension offset.
The operator argued that the statutory maximum should be applied after the pension offset is taken. This approach would have resulted in a higher workers' compensation benefit to the operator. In analyzing the statutes, the court determined that the benefits payable must be calculated first, then reduced to the statutory maximum, and finally the pension offset is calculated.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 2, 2010
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