COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Overpayments to Injured City of Chicago Workers

Lawyers for Chicago Employees Hurt On the Job

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, most employers must obtain workers’ compensation insurance in case their employees are injured. However, big businesses and certain others are allowed to apply to be self-insured. This means they don’t need to pay premiums to an outside insurance company to handle workers’ compensation claims brought by employees, but instead pay the claims directly. The City of Chicago is a self-insured employer. As a City of Chicago employee who is injured on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are situations in which the City might overpay. This could be because of an award that is later determined to be in error, or because the City overpaid prior to any award being made. An overpayment to injured City of Chicago workers can present challenges and may require hearing before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. You can consult the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca if you have questions regarding your benefits.

Overpayments to Injured City of Chicago Workers

Workers’ compensation coverage begins as soon as the City of Chicago hires you. Since the City of Chicago is self-insured, if you’re injured on the job, the City is supposed to pay your claim directly. Workers’ compensation benefits can include disability benefits, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation.

An overpayment occurs if the City makes benefit payments that go above and beyond what the City was legally obliged to do. An employer that overpays benefits is entitled to be credited for the overpayment. The employer can stop making workers’ compensation payments until it recoups what it lost when it overpaid.

Disputing Overpayments

You can dispute that there was an overpayment before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Commission is authorized to give a credit for overpayment of benefits, even when the overpayment was made prior to arbitration. Payments made leading up to arbitration are considered payments made in contemplation of an award.

For example, in one case, a claimant tried to argue that the employer couldn’t receive a credit for overpayment made prior to an award of the Commission; the judge disagreed and provided the credit. The court reasoned that denying credits for errors and overpayments would encourage administrative delay because employers would try to resolve all ambiguities prior to paying benefits. This would defeat the purpose of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, which is to give employees prompt and definite compensation.

It may be necessary to go through an audit in connection with an overpayment of benefits. In an audit, the Commissioner’s award will be compared to what the City paid. This allows for a determination of whether there was an overpayment. An administrative law judge will make an order regarding future payments from the City if it’s determined that the City overpaid. The future payments you would have received will be reduced by a weekly amount, and this amount will be credited towards what was overpaid until the overpayment has been paid back.

You might be asked to reimburse what was paid to you through a single payment. However, this can create difficulties, and a knowledgeable lawyer can help you advocate for a reduction of future payments rather than you needing to pay by personal check the amount owed to the City.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Serving Chicago

Overpayments can present a challenge, particularly if you already spent what was overpaid to you by the City and you were relying on future payments to be made in full. If you are concerned about an overpayment as an injured City of Chicago worker, you can discuss your situation with Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our lawyers can represent injured workers’ compensation clients in Rockford, Quincy, Aurora, and Champaign, as well as throughout Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Adams, and Winnebago Counties. We can also look at your situation to determine whether you are also eligible for other relief. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525, or through our online form.