POA Decision – 1999/07/12-02 – Compensation Benefits and Incarceration
Section 98(3) of the Workers Compensation Act provides the discretion to cancel, withhold or suspend the payment of compensation when a worker is confined to jail or prison. Policy item #49.20 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual deals with the application of Section 98(3). The Panel of Administrators has approved amendments to the policy to clarify that Section 98(3) applies where it is determined that a worker who is receiving benefits is subsequently incarcerated in any place used to confine persons in the course of the administration of the criminal justice system. The amendments provide definitions for the terms "cancel", "suspend", and "withhold". The amendments specifically address the exercise of discretion for the payment of vocational rehabilitation, health care, wage loss, and pension benefits during the period of incarceration. The amendments clarify the meaning of "confinement" and provide for ongoing entitlement to benefits once a worker is released on day parole and is no longer considered to be "confined" to jail or prison. The amendments also provide for the discretion to pay compensation to a trustee for the benefit of the worker depending on the reasonable needs of the worker while incarcerated. The amendments came into effective on July 12, 1999.