Workers’ Comp, TTD, and Abandoning the Workforce

Barkan Meizlish , May 18, 2015

In the recent case State ex rel. Floyd v. Formica Corp., 2014-Ohio-3614, the Ohio Supreme Court held, where a claimant voluntarily retires from the workforce following an industrial injury, he or she becomes ineligible for a new period of temporary total disability compensation (“TTD”) while recovering from a post-retirement surgery. In this case, the claimant was injured at work in March, 2000. He returned to work a light duty assignment which ended in January, 2001. The claimant began receiving TTD and he also started receiving Social Security retirement benefits effective April, 2001.

Nearly a decade later, after undergoing surgery in the claim in November, 2010, the claimant applied for a new period of TTD. Because TTD is intended to compensate an injured worker for the earnings they lose while their industrial injury heals, a claimant who is no longer part of the workforce can have no lost earnings. State ex rel. Ashcraft v. Indus. Comm., 34 Ohio St.3d 42, 43-44, 517 N.E.2d 533 (1987). As such, the Industrial Commission denied the claimant’s request for TTD, because the claimant had retired in 2001 and not searched for employment since that year.

In its decision, the Supreme Court upheld the denial of TTD, as it found that the claimant had abandoned the entire workforce. The Court also clarified that even when a departure from the workforce is injury-induced, a claimant is still ineligible for future periods of TTD where he or she has foreclosed the possibility of future employment by abandoning the entire workforce. 

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