What is Voluntary Withdrawal from the Labor Market?
Voluntary withdrawal from the labor market is when a claimant choses to stop working when they have a partial disability. This may sound illogical, however by doing this you could be jeopardizing your benefits if you do not follow the proper procedures. Many times, injured workers who have a high partial disability are confused about their responsibilities so let’s discuss what you need to do.
What responsibilities do injured workers have?
Injured workers who have a partial disability have an obligation to demonstrate “attachment to the labor market”. This means that, in order for the injured worker to be entitled to wage replacement benefits, they must demonstrate that they are trying to find work within their physical restrictions. Being found disabled by the Social Security Administration does not, in and of itself, excuse this burden.
From a practical standpoint, it may seem impossible to find any employment because of the physical pain and limitations caused by an injury. Also, you may have every intention of returning to the employer where you were injured once you recover so, why would you look for other work?
However, the law requires that a partially disabled claimant engage in a timely, diligent and persistent effort to find employment through an independent job search. You may seek assistance with your job search from an organization such as ACCESS-VR or One-Stop Career centers located throughout Western New York. Contact information for these services is as follows:
Web Address: www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/
Tel. No.: (716) 848-8001 or Toll Free at 1-888-652-7062
Web Address: www.careeronestop.org / www.labor.ny.gov/home/
Tel No.: 716-851-2600 (Buffalo)
Tel No.: 716-270-4444 (Williamsville)
Tel No.: 716-366-9015 (Dunkirk)
Tel No.: 716-270-4444 (Orchard Park)
Tel No.: 716-373-1880 (Cattaragus County)
If you choose to use these services, please ask for written proof from an ACCESS/One-Stop representative that shows you have utilized their services. You must prove that you are actively using their services. One visit a month is not enough; you must use these services with regularity (i.e. 3-5 times a month) in order to demonstrate that you efforts are genuine.
You may also enroll in further education with an accredited institution on a full time basis in place of a job search. However, you must generally be enrolled full time.
How to Avoid Being Denied Benefits for Voluntary Withdrawal from the Labor Market
If your injuries are so severe that you can no longer look for work or attend school full time, you must take the proper steps and get the documentation necessary to prove that you are involuntarily leaving the workforce. Involuntarily leaving the workforce means that your injury or disease is considered to have forced you from employment and into retirement because of its impact on your ability to continue doing your job. Depending on your work history, you may not have to demonstrate a continuing search for employment. This is largely dependent on your past work history, level of disability, age, earnings and other factors. If this is the route you plan to take, we recommend that you consult with an experienced Worker’s Compensation Attorney.
Regardless of your situation, requirements can be complex and heavily dependent on the facts of your situation. Please contact our attorneys with questions about this difficult issue as we are happy to help you navigate the differences between voluntary withdrawal from the labor market and involuntary withdrawal so you receive the benefits you need.