Go figure: Ohio Supreme Court says making money illegally bars workers’ comp

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

It may seem like common sense, but now the Supreme Court of Ohio has issued a clear ruling: Employees who can’t work because of injuries or illnesses lose their workers’ compensation benefits if they regain the ability to make a living by breaking the law.

Workers’ compensation recipients with sustained remunerative employment of any sort can’t double-dip into workers’ comp funds, too.

Recent case: An industrial accident in 1967 left Henry Lynch injured, and he was awarded permanent total disability payments. Thirty years later, police arrested Lynch for selling crack cocaine from his home.  Police estimated that Lynch cleared approximately $300 to $500 per week from the illegal sales.

The Industrial Commission of Ohio cut off Lynch’s workers’ comp benefits. He appealed, arguing that the commission should not have considered the money he made selling illegal drugs as income. The Supreme Court of Ohio disagreed—illegally earned income counts as remunerative employment. (State ex rel. Lynch v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, No. 2007-0423, Supreme Court of Ohio, 2007)

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