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WCAB DECIDES THAT VOUCHER RIGHTS CAN BE SETTLED, IN LIMITED CASES, IN POST JAN. 1, 2013 CLAIMS

August 25, 2016

 

In the Panel decision of Beltran v. Structural Steel Fabricators (2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp.
P.D. Lexis (citation pending)), the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board found that the
parties could settle the injured workers' rights to a Supplemental Job Displacement
Benefit voucher. In the Beltran case, there was a good faith dispute as to compensability.

The parties had submitted a Compromise and Release which included a settlement of the

Applicant's rights to a voucher for his post January 1, 2013 claim. The Judge in the matter

approved the settlement but specifically disallowed the settlement of the voucher rights.

The matter was submitted to the WCAB on the issue of the right of the parties to settle

the SJDB voucher in a post January 1, 2013 claim.

 

The WCAB, in a panel decision, analogized the settlement of the voucher right to the
settlement of vocational rehabilitation rights under the old system. The Board found that
where Thomas V. Sports Chalet allowed settlement of vocational rehabilitation rights
where there was a showing of a serious and good faith issue as to compensability, the
parties in the present case should be allowed to settle voucher rights with a similar
showing. This is contrary to what our industry has been told by the local judges for the
past few years.

 

With the decision in Beltran, parties can now settle voucher rights in cases where they
can show there is a "serious, good faith dispute which, if resolved against the injured
worker, would defeat the injured worker's entitlement to all workers' compensation
benefits." This case provides the parties a neat and clean way of disposing of lingering
voucher issues in a compromise and release settlement of disputed cases.

 

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