The Illinois workers' compensation program helps injured workers to receive the medical care that they need to heal from their work-related injuries. There are other facets of the program that are also available to some beneficiaries. These depend on their circumstances. Workers have specific requirements for the program. A recent ruling by an Illinois appellate court highlights this.
The case at the heart of the ruling involved a man who worked for more 30 years for a beverage distribution company. He suffered a back injury when he was stocking a cooler in 2011. This injury was a turning point in his career. He wasn't able to return to work because the injury exacerbated a degenerative condition that multiple doctors noted was common with age.
The company couldn't accommodate his need for light duty, so he was let go. Less than three months after that event, he was offered a job managing people at a warehouse for the same company. He opted not to interview for that job, which didn't have demands for physical abilities that he wasn't capable of doing.
He filed for workers' compensation benefits and was approved for several, including temporary disability. There were several components of an arbitrator ruling in the case were complied with, but the company filed for the DuPage County Circuit Court to review the case. That led to the court noting that some aspects of the arbitrator ruling were valid, but that the man didn't qualify for maintenance benefits for the man.
The ruling was due to the man not enrolling in a vocational rehabilitation program, which is a requirement of the program for people receiving maintenance payments. The Illinois appellate court denied that the man should receive additional workers' compensation benefits.
This case highlights the importance of knowing what you must do if you are a recipient of benefits after an on-the-job injury. Failing to comply with your requirements can mean you don't get the benefits you need.