Date: April 10, 2009
Employers and insurance carriers have a duty under the Workers' Compensation Law to notify the Board when they begin making payments to a claimant, and also if they modify or stop payments. The law also calls for parties to use forms prescribed by the Board, i.e., the most current version of Form C-669 and Form C-8/8.6. The Board relies heavily on the data obtained from these forms, so employers and insurance carriers should review their practices to ensure they are complying with these requirements.
Initiating Payment: Form C-669
If an employer or insurance carrier does not controvert a claim, it must notify the Workers' Compensation Board when it begins making indemnity payments to a claimant, pursuant to Workers' Compensation Law §25 (1) (c). It should use Form C-669 (version dated August, 2007) to notify the Board that payments have begun. This version of the form contains fields in section 15 that ask for the first date of payment and the weekly rate. This information must be furnished when compensation begins, which is either within 18 days of disability or within 10 days of learning of the incident.
Workers' Compensation Law §25 (1) (c) provides,
If the employer or insurance carrier does not controvert the injured worker's right to compensation such employer or insurance carrier shall, either on or before the eighteenth day after disability, or within ten days after the employer first has knowledge of the alleged accident, whichever period is the greater, begin paying compensation and shall immediately notify the chair in accordance with a form to be prescribed by him, that the payment of compensation has begun, accompanied by the further statement that the employer or insurance carrier, as the case may be, will notify the chair when the payment of compensation has been stopped.
Form C-669 should also be used to notify the Board when temporary payments are begun without admitting liability, in accordance with WCL Section 21-a.
Changing or Stopping Payment: Form C-8/8.6
If payment is modified or stopped, insurers must file Form C-8/8.6 (version dated March 2008) with the Board, as provided in Workers' Compensation Law § 25 (1) (d). This form also contains a field that asks when payment began. There is a $300 penalty, payable to the claimant, for failing to file that form within 16 days of changing or ceasing payment.
Workers' Compensation Law §25 (1) (d) provides,
Whenever for any reason compensation payments cease, the employer or its insurance carrier shall within sixteen days thereafter, send to the chair a notice on a form prescribed by the chair that such payment has been stopped, which notice shall contain the name of the injured employee or his or her principle dependent, the date of accident, the date to which compensation has been paid and the whole amount of compensation paid. In case the employer or its insurance carrier fails to notify the chair of the cessation of payments within sixteen days after the date on which compensation has been paid, the board may impose a penalty upon such employer or its insurance carrier in the amount of three hundred dollars, which shall be paid to the claimant. Such penalty shall be collected in like manner as an award of compensation.
Filing the Forms
Employers and insurers should update their systems and their workflows to ensure the correct versions of these forms are submitted, in a timely manner. The forms should be completed as directed; do not leave necessary fields blank. Forms C-669 and C-8/8.6 may be filed electronically with the Board, as well as on paper. Electronic filing is encouraged.
Zachary S. Weiss