Being out of work because of a workplace injury is tough. Not only are you anxious to recover your health and well-being, but you are also reliant on the timely delivery of your workers' compensation check. This is especially true now when countless families are dealing with job loss due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Your worker's compensation check may be the only thing keeping your family afloat during these extremely difficult times.
When your check does not show up on time, it throws your whole life into disarray. Often a late check means your rent payment is late, utility payments are late, credit card payments are late, and you may struggle to put food on the table. You may even be facing late charges, overdraft fees, and other penalties for paying bills late. All this because the workers' compensation check you are entitled to does not arrive on time.
Vermont Department of Labor Guidelines
According to the Vermont Department of Labor, a workers' compensation check is considered late based on the date it was postmarked, not the date you receive it. For example, if your insurer promises to put the check in the mail every Monday, but your check is postmarked for Tuesday, March 2, it is considered late.
You can find the date that your insurer promised to mail checks on Form 32, a form that your insurer is required to submit to the Vermont Department of Labor.
Is Your Workers' Compensation Check Late?
Knowing what to do when your workers' compensation check is late is hard. Often clients tell me that they don't know where to turn or if they have any recourse. However, you do have options. According to Vermont Workers' Compensation Rule 3.2622, if the insurer fails to mail or deposit the payment on the established day, they must pay the injured worker a $10 late fee or five percent of the benefit amount, whichever is greater.
Steps You Can Take
The first thing you can do if your check is late is call the Vermont Department of Labor (802-828-2286) and confirm with them the established date that your insurer promised to issue your benefit payment, listed on Form 32. You should then take a picture of the postmarked envelope and the enclosed check. You can then submit this as evidence of the late payment and seek the requisite late fee from your insurer.
Another thing you can do is request that your worker's compensation benefits be directly deposited into your bank account. Many insurers offer this feature, and if it is available, you should take advantage of it. You are much less likely to receive a late payment if it is directly deposited into your bank account.
What to Do if the Problem Persists
If you are still struggling with late checks or other issues related to your worker's compensation claim, reach out to a skilled lawyer. My law firm, the Law Office of Charles L. Powell PLLC, has helped countless clients deal with complicated workers' compensation matters. I have stood up to major insurers such as Liberty Mutual Insurance, MEMIC, and Travelers Insurance. I'm passionate about helping my clients receive the compensation they are entitled to and which is crucial to their recovery. When you need your voice heard, I am here to help.