Do I Get a Penalty for Late Workers Compensation Checks?
If you are out of work as a result of an injury, it is very important that you receive your weekly checks on time. You have bills that you need to pay. Not receiving your checks on time can cause you to pay your bills late and result in late penalties.
So what do you do if your workers compensation checks are arriving late? The first thing you need to do is to understand the rules on what makes a workers compensation check late in a Georgia case.
What are the Georgia rules on when the insurance company has to pay workers compensation checks?
When is a check late? Well, workers compensation benefits in Georgia should be paid on a weekly basis. That means that each week there should be a check issued to you by the insurance company when you are entitled to the following types of benefits:
- Temporary total disability,
- Temporary partial disability, or
- Permanent partial disability
These checks work a lot like paychecks. This means that the insurance company is paying you for the week of work that you just missed if you are receiving benefits for being out of work.
Is the insurance company required to have my check delivered by a certain date?
No. Georgia law for weekly checks does not contain a requirement that the insurance company have your check delivered by a certain date. The rules on workers compensation check payment instead focus on when the check is put in the United States mail with proper postage.
The date by which the checks must be mailed depends on whether the check is mailed from Georgia or from another state. If checks are being mailed from inside of Georgia, they have to be mailed by the last day of the pay period for which they are paying you.
Let us take an example. Say that you have a temporary total disability check paying you for the week of January 8th to January 14th. If that check is mailed from somewhere in Georgia, the rule is that the insurance company has to mail it by January 14 (the last day of the pay period).
What if my workers compensation checks are mailed from another state?
Many insurance companies mail their checks from other states. The rules for when checks have to be mailed are different when they come from outside of Georgia.
If the insurance company mails a check from outside of Georgia, they have to mail it three days before the last day of the pay period for that check. So, take the same example of a check paying from January 8th to January 14th. The insurance company needs to mail it by January 11th if they are mailing it from outside of Georgia.
What happens if the insurance company does not mail my check on time?
The insurance company should pay a late penalty on that check. That late penalty is a percentage of the check amount.
Under Georgia’s workers compensation law law, the late penalty for a weekly check is 15% of the check amount. So, if the insurance company mails a $400 check late, they would owe you a $60 late penalty (15% of $400).
The insurance company does not always pay the late check voluntarily. You or your attorney will probably have to request it.
So how do you know when the check is mailed?
There are two good ways to determine whether a check was mailed late:
- Check the issue date on the check
- Look at the postmark date on the envelope.
The check itself will probably have at least a couple of date on it. One set of dates will be the pay period for the check. But, the check should also have an issue date. The issue date is the date the check was generated or written.
It is impossible for a check to be mailed before it was actually generated. So, if the check issue date is after the date the check should have been mailed, then the check has to be late.
What if the if the issue date is before or on the date the check should’ve been mailed? The check could still potentially be late if it was not actually mailed on time.
Unfortunately, the check is not going to have a note with it that says when it was mailed. The best way to check maybe for the day it was mailed is by looking at the postmark on the envelope. If you check the postmark and it was after the date the check should have been mailed, you know the check was late and you should contact the worker’s compensation insurance company about getting a late penalty paid.
How can I fix a problem with my checks always being late?
It is nice to get late penalties on checks, but it can be difficult to keep your bills paid if your checks are repeatedly late. To try to fix this, you or an attorney on your behalf can reaching out to the insurance company about getting you put on a repeat pay. Some insurance companies may call this scheduled pay or automatic pay.
Most insurance companies have the ability to schedule so that your future checks are automatically issued on your case. They put you on repeat pay in their computer, and those checks should go out on a certain day each week automatically.
This often works a lot better than the insurance adjuster having to manually enter your checks each week. It takes out the possibility of the adjuster simply forgetting to send your check. If you get put on automatic pay, hopefully your checks will get to you on time.
Can I make the insurance company direct deposit my checks so I do not have to worry about the mail making my checks late?
Georgia workers compensation law allows for direct deposit of checks. Unfortunately, you cannot force the insurance company to use direct deposit. Direct deposit is only used if both you and the insurance company agree to it.
You or an attorney on your behalf can reach out to the insurance company to try to get your benefits sent by direct deposit. Sometimes, insurance companies will agree to do it.
What if I have other questions?
It would be unusual if you did not have other questions about what will happen in your workers compensation case. Georgia has its own special rules that determine what benefits you will receive and whether the insurance company can stop your benefits.
Knowing and understanding the system better will help you have a better recovery from your injury. So, I would recommend that you try to get answers to your questions.
One easy way to get answers is to speak with an attorney. Our firm provides free consultations with attorneys in workers compensation cases so that people who have been injured at work can get the information they need.
Setting up a free consultation is easy. Just call our office at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit this free consultation request.
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.
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