Austin, TX – The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is accepting public comment on a rule that will assist injured employees seeking Lifetime Income Benefits in the Texas workers’ compensation system. The rule requires insurance carriers to thoroughly review an injured employee’s eligibility for the benefits in a timely manner. It also sets specific timeframes for eligibility reviews when the injured employee requests the benefits.
“Our main purpose is to ensure that injured employees who qualify for Lifetime Income Benefits receive these benefits in a timely fashion,” said Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation Rod Bordelon. “With better communication among system participants, I think we get a better system that delivers the benefits that are appropriate without unnecessary delays.”
Under the Texas Labor Code, Lifetime Income Benefits are paid if the injured employee has:
- total and permanent loss of sight in both eyes;
- loss of both feet at or above the ankle;
- loss of both hands at or above the wrist;
- loss of one foot at or above the ankle and the loss of one hand, at or above the wrist;
- an injury to the spine that results in permanent and complete paralysis of both arms, both legs, or one arm and one leg;
- a physically traumatic injury to the brain resulting in incurable insanity or imbecility;
- third degree burns that cover at least 40 percent of the body and require grafting, or
- third degree burns covering the majority of either both hands or one hand and the face.
At the informal draft stage of rulemaking, DWC invites public comment on rules before the formal proposal stage. Public comments are welcome until July 7, 2014 at 5 p.m. Central Standard Time. Comments may be submitted by e-mailing InformalRuleComments@tdi.texas.gov or by mailing or delivering the comments to:
Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation Counsel, MS-4D
7551 Metro Center Drive, Suite 100
Austin, Texas 78744-1645