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Lost Benefits Due to Volunteer Work

 State: NY

 

Worker Volunteering as Fireman Loses Wage-Replacement Benefits

 

A New York appellate court upheld the suspension of an injured worker's wage-replacement benefits based on his failure to disclose the fact that he had begun volunteering as a firefighter while continuing to collect benefits.

 

Case: Matter of Moreland v. Reed Blacktopping, No. 516931, 03/27/2014, published.

 

Facts: James Moreland suffered a work-related injury while employed by Reed Blacktopping in September 2008.

 

He began receiving wage-replacement benefits after his injury since he was unable to return to work.

 

In February 2009, Moreland began volunteering as a firefighter, but he continued to represent that he was not performing any paid or unpaid work in several questionnaires that were submitted to Reed's insurance carrier and the independent medical examiners who evaluated his condition.

 

Moreland also repeatedly advised a workers' compensation judge, under oath, that he  was not performing any volunteer work.

 

When Reed learned of Moreland's volunteer work, Reed moved to disqualify Moreland from receiving future wage-replacement benefits.

 

Procedural History: A workers' compensation judge determined that Moreland had knowingly made false statements regarding his employment status and granted Reed's disqualification request.

 

The Workers' Compensation Board upheld this decision, as did the Appellate Division's 3rd Department.

 

Analysis: Moreland did not deny that he was performing duties as a volunteer firefighter, rather, he defended his actions on the basis that he did not view his work as a volunteer firefighter to be volunteering.

 

The board found this assertion to be incredible, and the court agreed.

 

Disposition: Affirmed.

 

To read the decision, click here.

 

Source: WorkCompCentral

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