Workers’ Compensation Case Review: Injured workers in Halfway Houses Entitled to Wage Loss Benefits

Aug 21, 2014 | WC & Other Laws

Colorado Law prohibits inmates from receiving not only temporary total disability but all benefits:

“Any individual who is otherwise entitled to benefits under [the Workers’ Compensation Act] shall neither receive nor be entitled to such benefits for any week following conviction during which such individual is confined in a jail, prison, or any department of corrections facility”  C.R.S. §8-42-113(1)

Frank Deshane injured his left shoulder at work on April 26, 2012.  During his treatment, Mr. Deshane was confined to Weld County Jail for a parole violation.  On February 22, 2013 he was released to a community corrections program in a halfway house run by a private company called Intervention Community Corrections Services.  During his residence, Mr. Deshane could leave for work, work search, and legal appointments.

Unable to find work, Mr. Deshane sought temporary total disability benefits.  The Administrative Law Judge awarded benefits starting February 22, 2013 over Respondents’ objections.  The Industrial Claims Appeals Panel (ICAO) affirmed.

The ICAO determined (relying upon a Court of Appeals decision, City and County of Denver, 98 P.3d 969 (Colo. App. 2004)) that a halfway house is not a jail, a prison, or a “Department of Corrections facility.”

Further, halfway house or jail residents who are free to look for work and work are not “confined” as used in the statute.

Finally the Administrative Law Judge and the ICAO rejected respondents argument that it should have to pay wage loss to a convicted felon when the felony is the real cause of the injured worker’s inability to find work.  The ICAO commented that the respondent employer had hired the injured worker when he was a convicted felon.  Further if such an argument were accepted it could apply to deny wage loss to all manner of injured workers with employability “handicaps” such as advanced age, or insufficient education.

As always, how this or any other case we discuss in this blog would apply to your case depends on many more factors.  We urge you to call us to see if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  Workers’ Compensation is difficult, confusing, and very complex.  Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve.   Contact us here or call us at 303-780-7329 for your FREE CONSULTATION.

Cite:  Frank Deshane III v. GCA Services Group, Inc. (WC No. 4-894-543 January 13, 2014)