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Self-Insured employers should monitor disabled employees’ eligibility for Disabled Workers’ Relief Fund

In State ex rel. Ford Motor Co. v. Indus. Comm., 2015-Ohio-181, the 10th District addressed whether the Commission could award retroactive payments from the Disabled Workers’ Relief Fund (“DWRF”) for a period of more than two years.  In this case, a worker determined permanently and totally disabled in 1990, became eligible for DWRF payments in 1999 when he turned age 65.  The Commission, however, did not notify the employer of DWRF liability until 2013, at which time it ordered 13 years of DWRF retroactive payments.  The employer appealed, arguing the Commission was limited to 2 years back payment pursuant to R.C. § 4123.52.  The 10th District found in favor of the Commission, holding that the 2-year retroactive payment limitation did not apply and finding both the employer and the Commission equally negligent in failing to recognize the claimant’s prior eligibility for DWRF payments at the time he turned 65.  Under this ruling, self-insured employers should be aware that they may be liable for retroactive DWRF even if the Commission fails to timely make an award.  Click here to read the court’s full decision.

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