An Ohio man has pled guilty to workers’ compensation fraud after an investigation by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Video surfaced of the man performing bench-press exercises at his local gym, using a weight of 500 pounds. His workers’ compensation claim, however, was based on his inability to lift more than 10 pounds.
He was receiving ‘non-working wage loss’ following an injury and based on his inability to find a new job which would work with his claimed disability. However, under the workers’ compensation program, the injured worker must be able to show that they are looking for employment within their restrictions — and obviously, continue to show that their restriction exists.
In this case, the man’s ability to perform a physical task above and beyond his claim has caused him to lose these benefits. In addition, he will have to pay back the benefits he did receive, to the tune of more than $30,000. He was also sentenced to nine months in jail.
Unfortunately, cases like this one perpetuate a stereotype that people who are receiving benefits through workers’ compensation are doing so fraudulently. In addition, it means that someone who truly needed the benefits may have been struggling to get by while this man perpetuated his fraud.
For people injured at work, there ought to be no shame in accepting workers’ compensation. The more frauds that are revealed, the more that deserving workers can gain their benefits as they search for new employment and recover from their injuries.
Source: WorkersCompensation.com, “Video of Ohio Man Lifting Weights Puts An End to His Workers’ Comp Benefits,” Jan. 11, 2013