SC Code Section 42-9-260 describes the procedures that must be followed for proper termination of temporary total compensation (TTD). Compensation may be terminated within the first 150 days basically if the Claimant has been released to return to work, and either agrees he can work, returns to work for 15 days, or refuses suitable employment. It can also be terminated if a good faith investigation reveals grounds for denial of the claim.
Beyond the first 150 days, compensation may only be terminated on written consent of the claimant (execution of a Form 17) or on Order of the Commission following an evidentiary hearing. Compensation must be current before a request for a hearing to stop payment of compensation will be entertained by the Commission.
What happens after the stop pay hearing? Typically, Defendants are continuing to provide TTD weekly after the hearing until the hearing Commissioner sends Order instructions via email to counsel. If the stop pay is granted, defense counsel will be directed to terminate temporary total compensation payments, a credit for overpayment will be issued, and permanency may or may not be ordered. Defense counsel will, in this scenario, be directed to prepare a proposed Order to be filed and signed by the hearing Commissioner. Most of the time, there is a time lapse between the issuance of the Order instructions and the actual filing of the Order with the Commission. What about payments of temporary total compensation during that time frame?
If there is a disability award, payment of TTD is simply deducted from that award, and in my experience, most claimant’s lawyers will allow the termination of TTD upon issuance of the order instructions. That caps the credit for overpayment, and the case is in a posture for settlement. Technically, however, the Order does not become binding until it is actually approved by the Commission, so it is not completely proper to terminate those benefits prior to the filing date.
If you have any questions about whether you may stop TTD benefits in your claim, please contact us.