Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SBX4-2 (Speier), a workers’ compensation fraud bill that, among other things, revises the fraud notice that insurers and self-insured employers must include on or with an injured worker’s TD check, and requires that the notice be provided in both English and Spanish, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.
The new language is specified in the following amendment to Insurance Code Section 1871.8:
Ins. Code Sec. 1871.8. An insurer or self-insured employer shall provide the following notice, in both English and Spanish, to an injured worker on or with a check for temporary disability benefits:
WARNING: You are required to report to your employer or the insurance company any money that you earned for work during the time covered by this check, and before cashing this check. If you do not follow these rules, you may be in violation of the law and the penalty may be jail or prison, a fine, and loss of benefits.
ADVERTENCIA: Es necesario que usted le avise a su patron o a su compania de seguro todo dinero que usted ha ganado por trabajar, durante el tiempo cubierto por este cheque, y antes de cambiar este cheque. Si usted no sigue estos reglamentos, Usted puede estar en violacion de la ley y el castigo podria ser carcel o prision, una multa, y perdida de beneficios.
Previously, the fraud warning was not mandatory, though many claims operations included the notice on the TD check itself, or in an accompanying letter. The effective date for the mandatory, revised language is January 1, 2005, so payers are advised to alert their systems people to gear up for the change. The state has posted a copy of the new law at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_0001050/sbx4_2_bill_20040828_enrolled.html.
Some workers’ compensation claims administrators were initially concerned that the revised fraud language would require another change in the recently revised claim form, but the change only applies to the notice provided on or with the TD check. No change was made to the fraud language on the DWC-1 claim form (Rev. 7/04), approved by the state earlier this summer. If they have not already done so, however, employers and claims administrators should begin using the 7/04 revision of the claim form, as DWC only granted a grace period until October 1 before it will assess penalties for failure to provide injured workers with the new form. The new, 5-part DWC-1 claim form may be ordered from CWCI either by visiting the online bookstore at www.cwci.org or by calling Pat Emslie at (510) 251-9470.