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Always, Always Be Sure to Give Work Status Notes from Your Doctor to Your Employer.

Daniel Klosowski

When an employee is off work per a treating physician’s orders, or when the employee has light-duty restrictions and the employer does not accommodate those restrictions, the employee is entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. The doctor’s opinion on the employee’s inability to work is captured in a work status note written by the doctor. These notes should be forwarded to the employer.

An injured employee should always be sure their doctor provides them with a work status note for each visit with the doctor. At the end of the visit, the employee should ask the doctor to write a note explaining the employee’s current inability to work. TTD payments allow an employee to continue to receive income while they are off work, which is why it is imperative that the employer be aware of the employee’s work status at any particular time. An employer becomes aware of the employee’s work status through the work status notes authored by the treating physician. It is the employee’s responsibility to make sure these work status notes get into the employer’s hands. There are several ways this can be accomplished.

One easy way is to ask the doctor’s office to fax or email the note to the employer directly. If the note is being faxed, the employee should wait to make sure the fax was completed properly. An employee should keep a copy of the work status note, and may even want a copy of the fax confirmation page to show that the note was faxed successfully. If the note is being emailed, the employee should be asked to be carbon copied on the email as well.

Another way to provide the employer with the work status note is to physically deliver the note to the place of employment. The employee should leave the doctor’s office with two copies of the note; one for their file and one for the employer. The note can then be handed to a supervisor or individual in human resources.

Merely having a conversation with the employer regarding the employee’s work status is not enough. At some point, the employee may need evidence to show the employer was aware of the work status at a certain point in time. Therefore, an actual written note or email needs to be available.

TTD benefits are always important to an employee who is injured and unable to work for a period of time. Taking a few extra steps to be sure the employer is in possession of a work status note is definitely worth the effort. If an employer is aware of an employee’s work status and insists on refusing to pay benefits, you should speak with an attorney knowledgeable in Illinois Workers’ Compensation law to help you receive the benefits you are entitled to.

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