Posted On: November 12, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Totally Disabled Worker Sues State for Illinois Workers' Compensation Benefits

In Cook County Court, Regina Johnson has filed a class action Illinois workers' compensation complaint against the state. Johnson, a worker who became totally disabled because of a work injury, claims that the state used an illegal “peremptory edict” to unfairly suspend cost of living increases despite promising beneficiaries payments for life from Illinois' Rate Adjustment Fund (RAF).

Johnson sustained her work-related injury in 2009. In 1992, the Illinois Industrial Commission determined that she was “wholly and permanently disabled” and should always receive $184.54/week. She started receiving the additional rate adjustment payments in 1993. Johnson then settled her Illinois disability claim with her employer in 2001. Per the agreement reached, the Illinois State Treasurer promised to keep paying her the rate adjustment benefits.

Johnson says she kept receiving the rate adjustment payments through May 2010 when the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission sent her a letter telling her that the additional benefits were suspended. In her Illinois workers’ compensation lawsuit, she is accusing the IWCC of creating an administrative rule that terminated/suspended the RAF benefits of all persons who received an award for permanent total disability or death and settled for a lump sum.

Johnson is calling for the retroactive reinstatement of her benefits and is demanding an injunction. She says that the Commission was not in compliance with the rulemaking procedure, not all commission members were consulted, and the commission failed to give 45 days public notice, hold hearings, or obtained comments.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Workers injured on the job are likely entitled to work injury benefits from their employer. Many workers don’t even file a work injury claim. It is important that you file yours as soon as possible. In addition to coverage of medical expenses for your work-related injury, depending on your injuries you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits. Loved ones that have lost a family member in a work accident may be entitled to survivors benefits.

Illinois’ Rate Adjustment Fund
The RAF was established in 1975 to cover cost-of-living increases for workers who have become totally and permanently disabled because of a work injury or for the survivors of an injured or sick worker that died.

Disabled Sue Illinois for Benefits, Courthouse News, November 12, 2010

Rate Adjustment Fund, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

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