What is a Notice of Ability to Return to Work in Pennsylvania?

A Notice of Ability to Return to work in a standard form in Pennsylvania Workers Compensation claims.  I get calls from clients and potential clients that are concerned about receiving this form.  So what is this form and what does it mean?

First, this form is prescribed by Section 306(b)(3) of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act.  The form essentially provides to you notification that the insurance carrier has received medical evidence that indicates your ability to return to work.  Ability is italicized above because it means that the insurance carrier has received work restrictions or a change in restrictions for your condition, it does not mean you have to return to work.  In some cases, an injured worker receives the form and is already back working in light duty, further compounding the confusion.

Essentially, you should view the Notice as an informational notification, rather than a notification that requires action.  However, and I caution, DO NOT take the form lightly.  It could be indicative that the insurance carrier may be preparing to attempt to modify or suspend workers’ compensation benefits. 

Once an insurance company receives any medical evidence that indicates any restriction or change in restriction, they must send this Notice if they intend to file a petition seeking to suspend or modify the injured worker’s benefits.  failure to send this Notice limits the insurance carrier’s ability to file a petition.

So what do we mean by a change in restrictions?  The insurance carrier could have received documentation from their own doctor, resulting from the independent medical examination” you may have attended, or from your treating doctor.  It could simply result from a change in your work restriction from your doctor, such as, a change from a 5 pound weight restriction to a 10 pound weight restriction.

Many times, these form are the result of the Independent Medical Examination you attended.  You should understand in this scenario that the insurance carrier has begun to take hostile action against your claim.  Protect your rights and don’t risk it.  If you receive a Notice of Ability to Return to Work, call Mooney & Associates today at 717-200-HURT to schedule a FREE consultation.  Risking your benefits is a risk you should not take.

Call Mooney & Associates today at 717-200-HURT to schedule a FREE Consultation at one of our thirteen South Central Pennsylvania office locations.  Those locations are: In Franklin County, we have offices in Greencastle, Mercersburg, and Chambersburg.  In Cumberland County, we have offices in Shippenburg and Carlisle.  In Dauphin County, we have offices in Halifax and Harrisburg.  In Perry County, we have an office in Duncannon.  In Adams County, we have an offices in Gettysburg and New Oxford.  In York County, we have offices in Hanover, York, and Stewartstown.  Finally, we have a new office location in Lancaster.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.