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Changes to Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Rule 1043 minute read

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation made a change in 2014 to Board Rule 104 that will help protect injured workers and benefit the workers’ compensation judicial system at the same time.

What Rule 104 does

Rule 104 allows an Employer/Insurer to complete a Form WC-104 giving an injured worker notice that his or her doctor has released the injured worker to modified or restricted duty (commonly referred to as “light duty”) work.  Upon serving the form on the injured worker (and his or her attorney if there is one), the Employer has “started the clock ticking” until a reduction in the injured workers’ income benefits from Temporary Total Disability benefits to Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

After this notice, the Employer/Insurer can reduce benefits after 52 consecutive weeks of a light duty status even if the injured worker has not returned to work or been offered any work by his employer.  You can read more about the harsh effects of a WC-104 in our blog post on Form WC-104 and our blog post on temporary partial disability.

While this rule has incredibly harsh effects on injured workers, one of the most frustrating aspects was that many injured workers received no warning of their upcoming reduction in income benefits.  The law had no requirement that the employer or insurance company file the Form WC-104 with the Board.

Instead, the injured worker and his or her attorney often would see the Form WC-104 for the first time when benefits were reduced.  Because the WC-104 was from a full year earlier, it was difficult for an injured worker to prove that the Form WC-104 was never received.  Injured workers had nothing to offer a judge as proof other than their own testimony that they did not receive the form.

This used to not be the case.  Years ago, Board Rules required a Form WC-104 to be filed with the Board just like other forms related to the payment of benefits (such as WC-1, WC-2, and WC-3).  Unfortunately, that filing requirement was eliminated a number of years ago.  Without a requirement that the Form WC-104 be filed with the State Board, these disputes were classic “he said, she said” situations over whether the notice had been sent.  This resulted in increased litigation, which created more time and expense for everyone involved.

What changes were made to Rule 104

As of January 1, 2014, the Board has reinstated the requirement that WC-104s be filed with the Board at the time of service upon injured workers and their attorneys.  Because there is a presumption that filing with the Board is at the same time as service upon a party, Employers who comply with the rule will enjoy a presumption that they fulfilled their obligations before reducing benefits.

At the same time, in those situations where it is not filed with the Board, injured workers should be able to prove that a Form WC-104 was invalid and have their benefits reinstated (or avoid a reduction taking place in the first place).  That will mean cost savings for everyone and a more efficient workers’ compensation system.

Questions about Rule 104 or Form WC-104

If you receive a WC-104, there are a number of technical requirements an Employer or insurance company must meet before they can properly reduce your workers’ compensation check.  If your benefits have been reduced or you are concerned that they may be reduced, one of our attorneys who specializes in Georgia Workers’ Compensation cases will be happy to speak with you to make sure your rights are protected.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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