Unfortunately, sometimes workplace injuries can be so severe that they force one to contemplate whether or not they will be able to return to his/her prior occupation. When this occurs one may consider whether retirement from the job is a viable option. However, there are many things to keep in mind when contemplating this option and consulting with an attorney may be essential in making sure that your benefits are not affected in a negative way.
Some things to explore may be the type of retirement that is available to you. For instance, many employers have different retirement options depending on how long one has been at a job and what benefits are available. Many times, employers have disability retirement options. If a workplace injury has led to the unfortunate reality that one will never be able to physically return to his or her occupation, disability retirement may be a viable option. However, even if disability retirement is not a viable option or not available, one may still choose to take a regular retirement if it is determined that one cannot do the work.
Many times however, Workers Compensation Insurance carriers attempt to use the fact that you have retired against you in your claim for ongoing benefits. Many times carriers argue that you have “voluntarily removed” yourself from the labor market upon retirement. Thus is it important to keep certain things in mind when you retire in order to protect your entitlement to benefits.
Initially, it is important for you to consult with your doctor regarding your decision to retire. The medical records should be complete and if you are physically unable to perform the basic duties of your job and your doctor feels that you will not be able to in the future, this should be documented in the medical records. You should discuss your decision to retire with your doctor who is treating you for your workers compensation injury.
Additionally, if you are retiring because of your injuries it is important to discuss this with your employer at the time you retire. Many times this can be done by sending a letter to the employer indicating the reasons for your retirement. Many times, employer conducts exit interview upon retirement. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss this issue with the employer to advise them that you simply cannot perform the physical duties of your job and thus you are forced to retire.
Lastly, and importantly, discuss your decision to retire with a work injury lawyer. An attorney may be able to provide the necessary advice and make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your continuing benefits and make sure that you get everything that you are entitled to under the law.
Thanks to our friends at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their added insight into the effects of retirement on workers’ compensation benefits.