January 6, 2020 Article

Maine WC Alert: Updated Version of Notice of Controversy (WCB-9) Must Be Used Effective February 1, 2020

Maine Workers' Comp Alert

Following the recent statutory changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has updated the language in Box 22 of the Notice of Controversy. This new version should be used as soon as possible, but no later than February 1, 2020. The warning language in Box 22 now states that failure to timely file the NOC may result in penalties under the statute and rules.

This change comes in the wake of the following recent amendments to §205:

Time for payment of benefits (§ 205(2))

Effective 9/17/19, the requirement to pay benefits within 14 days of notice or knowledge of the injury is tolled if the first payment cannot be made due to an act of God, mistake of fact, or unavoidable circumstances.

Penalties relating to timeliness of benefit payments (§ 205(2))

Effective 9/17/19, in the absence of filing a timely Notice of Controversy, the penalty for failure to pay within 14 days is limited to $50.00 per day for each day late over 30 days, capped at $1,500.00. The amendment to § 205 provides: “Further consequences” of a failure to make timely payment are specifically not a subject for rulemaking.

Investigation period (§ 205(2))

Effective 9/17/19, if payment of incapacity benefits without prejudice is initiated, by filing a Notice of Controversy within 45 days of first knowledge or notice, payment of incapacity benefits may be discontinued. After 45 days, benefits may be discontinued or reduced only with 21-day notice and the filing of a WCB-8.

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