Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Disability Questioned

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Disability Questioned

Article excerpt

DISABILITY QUESTIONED

As a result of sustaining a work-related back injury in the course of full-time employment, Risch was awarded workers' compensation medical benefits. However, she continued to work at her two part-time jobs for six months. Then, complaining of increasing back pain, she quit both jobs.

The North Dakota Workers' Compensation Bureau then began paying Risch disability benefits, but after seven months terminated them on the grounds that Risch failed to prove she remained disabled while refusing to return to work. Her employers had offered her a short-hour work schedule tailored to her physical restrictions.

Risch requested, and was granted, a formal rehearing of her claim, but was unable to convince the bureau to change its ruling. When she appealed, the district court affirmed the bureau's order. Risch next appealed to the North Dakota Supreme Court (Lucille M. Risch v. North Dakota Workers' Compensation Bureau and Mandan Public Schools).

Risch contended that the bureau erred in finding that she had not remained disabled. She argued that her decision not to return to work resulted from her belief that she could not do what was required. …

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