The Workers' Compensation Simplification Project initiated by DWC nearly a year ago has produced another significant product -- simplified, user friendly benefit notice forms.
The multiple reforms enacted in recent years, coupled with the statutory requirement that various notices be provided to injured employees, have produced a paperwork nightmare for claims administrators. Simplifying the benefit notice process has been a very high priority in DWC's overall effort to simplify the workers' compensation claims process.
Representatives from all segments of the community participated on the committee that produced new benefit notice forms, which are enclosed. The committee was led by Peggy Jones, DWC's Chief Deputy Director, and Mark Johnson, DWC's Audit Unit Manager, and included representatives of employers, employees, and claims administrators.
The committee developed a series of check-off forms and two fact sheets which can be used to satisfy the benefit notice requirements. The fact sheets, one on temporary disability and one on permanent disability, were developed to advise workers of the facts applicable to their circumstances, which may vary significantly by date of injury because of the enactment of the various reforms.
The new, easy-to-use forms do not require any regulatory changes. Previously adopted DWC regulations were designed to permit maximum flexibility in the manner in which benefit notices are provided to employees. The forms were introduced at the DWC Educational Conferences last month with generally favorable response. Some minor changes were made on the forms after feedback from the industry was received.
Some claims administrators prefer to send employees personalized letters containing the necessary information, while others prefer multiple-use forms, as developed in this project. These options continue to be permitted, as well as any others that provide employees the necessary information.
The new Benefit Notice Manual, forms and fact sheets are available for download in Microsoft Word format for either Macintosh or PC at DWC's Internet Web Page.