by Alissa C. Atkins, Esq.

On January 1, 2014, the Board’s new Rule 104 became effective. The Board’s WC-104 form allows an employer/insurer to reduce a claimant’s benefits unilaterally from temporary total disability income benefits to temporary partial disability income benefits once the employee’s authorized treating physician releases him/her to work with restrictions. Previously, the WC-104 was not filed with the Board when it was served on the claimant and claimant’s attorney. Instead, when the WC-2 was completed, the WC-104 was attached to establish the basis of the reduction of benefits.

Since the benefits conversion using a WC-104 does not go into effect for 52 consecutive weeks or 78 aggregate weeks after the form is prepared, issues about service to the claimant and/or his attorney were often not being raised until well after a year from the date the authorized treating physician released the claimant to return to work. By revising Board Rule 104 to require that the WC-104 be filed with the Board at the same time as it is initially served on the claimant and the claimant’s attorney, the Board hopes to resolve these disputes proactively. Now, the WC-104 will be filed with the Board via mail at the same time it is served on the claimant and the claimant’s attorney. With the recent push for Board filings to be made either through EDI or by attorneys on ICMS, most forms are not filed with the Board via mail. However, the WC-104 will be filed only by mail. For your review, we have attached a copy of the updated WC-104 form which can begin being used immediately.