Wage-loss benefits not offset by worker's disability retirement benefits
Case name: Mills v. Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department, No. CA11-1239 (Ark. Ct. App. 06/20/12).
Ruling: The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that a worker's benefits should be offset by the difference in the amount she received from her disability retirement and what she would have received from early retirement benefits.
What it means: In Arkansas, rather than offsetting a worker's wage-loss benefits with the entire amount of her retirement benefits, only the amount she received as a result of her disability beyond her early retirement benefits should offset her wage-loss benefits.
Summary: An injured worker was awarded wage-loss benefits, but the amount was offset by the disability retirement benefits she was also receiving. She asserted that her wage-loss benefits should not have been offset by all her retirement benefits. The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that her benefits should only be offset by the difference in the amount she received in disability retirement benefits than what she would have received under early retirement. The courts sent the case back to the Workers' Compensation Commission for a recalculation of the worker's benefits.
The worker presented a document from the employer showing the amount of work-related disability retirement benefits she received. She also showed the retirement benefits she would have received with an early reduction factor instead of applying for disability benefits. The increase in retirement benefits resulting from her retirement on disability rather than early retirement amounted to $133. The court explained that the only double recovery was that amount.
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August 6, 2012
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