On June 16, 2020, Governor DeWine signed Am. Sub. H.B. No. 81, which will go into effect September 14, 2020. The following is a brief overview of the changes impacting Ohio workers’ compensation.

The time to file an application for a VSSR award, under section 4121.471, has been brought in line with the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It has been reduced to 1 year from the date of injury or death, or one year after the onset of disability for an occupational disease. It applies to claims arising on or after September 14, 2020.

Section 4123.52 changes the 5-year statute of limitations on the continuing jurisdiction of the Industrial Commission and BWC. Previously, the statute began to run on the last date of payment for medical services or compensation. Now, it begins to run on the last date medical service was provided, or the date of the last payment of compensation. This change is applicable to claims arising on or after July 1, 2020.

Section 4123.56 pertains to temporary total disability, and was changed to “supersede any previous judicial decision that applied the doctrine of voluntary abandonment to a claim brought under this section.” It now states if an employee is not working, or has suffered a wage loss “as the direct result of reasons unrelated to the allowed injury or occupation disease, the employee is not eligible to receive compensation under this section.” This change applies to claims pending on or arising after September 14, 2020.

Section 4123.58 pertains to permanent total disability. This section removed voluntary abandonment language, and now states if the “employee retired or otherwise is not working for reasons unrelated to the allowed injury or occupational disease,” they shall not be compensated with permanent total disability benefits. This change applies to claims pending on or arising after September 14, 2020.

Changes to section 4123.65 allows the administrator to settle state fund claims without the employer’s permission, if both of the following apply: 1) the claim is out of the employer’s experience, and 2) the claimant is no longer employed by the employer. This change apply to claims pending on or arising after September 14, 2020.

Changes to section 4123.66, increase the reimbursable funeral expenses from $5,500, to $7,500. This change applies to claims arising on or after September 14, 2020.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the legislative changes please call one of our attorneys at Garvin & Hickey, LLC.