After being involved in a work-related accident, you will undoubtedly appear for medical appointments with your authorized treating physician. At some point, in most claims, prior to being released to full duty, your authorized treating physician will release you to work with light duty restrictions. That means that you are not yet able to return to work in your full capacity, but you could return to work doing something.
According to Board Rule 104, once you have received a light duty release from your authorized treating physician, the employer may, within 60 days of the light duty release, file a form WC-104. This form allows the employer to reduce your benefits from Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments to Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) payments after 52 consecutive weeks of light duty release or 78 aggregate weeks of light duty release. This form must be accompanied by the medical records placing the claimant at light duty. It may be filed without regard to whether the employer has any light duty work available for the claimant.
There is no actual requirement that the WC-104 be filed with the State Board at the time it is sent to the claimant. Rather, it only must be filed once the prescribed number of weeks of light duty have been reached and the employer seeks to reduce benefits from TTD to TPD.
Upon receipt of a WC-104, the claimant should immediately look at the date on the medical record, the date on the WC-104 and the date on the envelope. If the WC-104 was not sent within 60 days of the light duty release, it is invalid. The claimant should also pay greater attention to reports from their doctors after receiving a WC-104. Remember, if the claimant is placed back on total disability by the authorized treating physician within the 52 weeks following the light duty release, the employer may not reduce benefits until the 78 aggregate weeks have been reached.Tags: change of physician, medical benefits, O.C.G.A § 34-9-, Workers' Compensation Act