There are storm clouds on the horizon. When you receive the dreaded Form 36 by certified mail from the insurance carrier, it means that they are asking for permission from the workers’ compensation commissioner to either reduce or eliminate or change in some way the benefits that you have been receiving. If you do not have an attorney at this point in the case, it is a very good time to consider hiring one.
There are a number of scernios in which a Form 36 may be issued. You may have been receiving temporary total disability benefits for a period of months, and, based on the independent medical physician’s opinion that you now have work capacity the carrier is seeking to suspend your temporary total payments. Or, you may be receiving light duty payments (temporary partial payments) for which you have been submitting job searches. The adjuster may feel that your searches are inadequate. This may result in a Form 36 being filed. Your treating physician has recommended physical therapy or some other treatment that you have refused to follow, and therefore the carrier is seeking to cut off your benefits.
In any of those circumstances, or many others that can be imagined, the claimant must object to the Form 36 within 15 days of the issuance of the Form 36 or the 36 will automatically approved by the workers’ compensation commissioner. Connecticut state law requires that in order for the above-mentioned benefits to be cutoff or changed, the commissioner must approve of such change.
Unfortunately, many adjusters believe that they can cutoff benefits without the authorization from the workers’ compensation commissioner in instances where they feel that the claimant is not producing sufficient job searches, or where they have done something else to earn the ire of the adjuster.
In the event that an objection to the Form 36 is timely filed with the commission, a hearing will be scheduled within several weeks before the commissioner to discuss these issues. Again, my strongest recommendation is that you have an attorney to help assist you in a 36 hearing.