Garson Johnson Law Blog

Did you say I'm getting Dwarf benefits? Wait, what?

PictureWell yes and no. Pronounced "dwarf" the benefit is actually DWRF (Disabled Workers Relief Fund). DWRF is a type of Ohio workers' compensation benefits provided to injured workers currently receiving permanent and total disability benefits.

"Permanent and total disability (PTD) benefits pay a worker when that person can't perform sustained, paid employment due to their work related injury."

PTD benefits are problematic because amount paid to the injured worker is fixed. Yet PTD compensation is paid for life. Remember how much gas cost 20 years ago? Less. A lot less. Actually, probably less than half of what it costs today. Things get more expensive. The cost of living goes up every year. That is a big concern for people on a fixed disability income. Huge!

Established in 1953, the DWRF is a special fund to supplement the PTD benefits. Prior to this, injured workers were unfavorably affected by rising inflation and cost of living.

DWRF Highlights:

  • Define Cost of Living Rates. Cost of living or the DWRF entry level is determined annually by US Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index.
  • Get paid! DWRF provides a subsidy payment to PTD injured workers making less than DWRF entry level.
  • No need to apply. Injured workers automatically receive the benefit if they qualify.
  • Social Security payments matter! PTD rate plus the injured worker's Social Security rate must be below the DWRF entry rate to be eligible.
  • Do the math. PTD Rate + Social Security= IW Income. If IW income is < (less than) DWRF entry rate, THEN IW receives DWRF benefits.

So what's the problem?
This sounds great right? No application, automatic reviews, and just like that another check in the mail! Well it can be great, but for a few self-insured employees, this can be very misleading.

Self-Insured Employer failed to pay PTD yet Injured Worker received DWRF.
In one situation, an injured worker was awarded PTD. However, the self-insured employer wasn't actually paying the PTD. The injured worker was receiving DWRF payments, but that is obviously a lot less. Thankfully, an experienced workers' comp attorney became involved and the man was re-paid what was owed.

The Ohio BWC is a complex system wrought with errors, omissions, unnecessary denials, and other actions harmful to injured workers. An experienced attorney is a necessity to traverse the intricate processes and procedures. Call Garson Johnson today if you have questions about PTD, DWRF payments or other workers' comp related concerns.

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Thanks to the hard working men and women of Ohio for allowing us to serve you. The workers comp system is very challenging. By no choice of their own, workers find themselves injured, off work, and desperate for answers and treatment. We are honored to focus on our clients not just their legal case. The best complement we receive is a referral from existing clients. The second best is their words of thanks and appreciation.

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