New York Workers' Compensation is an intricate area of law that is often subject to a number of misconceptions. This site is intended to help readers seeking clarification on the topic of NY Workers' Comp. Whether you are an injured worker lost amidst the complexities of Workers' Comp, a doctor who is not sure how to properly handle a Workers' Comp patient's file, or simply a curious New Yorker who worries about what would happen if you were ever injured on the job, I hope that the content of this site will deliver the answers you seek, even to questions you didn't know to ask.

It is my pleasure to welcome you into the world of New York Workers' Compensation. I hope you enjoy your visit, spread the word, and come back soon.

Best regards,

Camila P. Medici, Esq.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Finding of Involuntary Retirement Prevents a Finding of Voluntary Withdrawal from the Labor Market

This is a question I get very often: If an injured worker was classified with less than a total permanent disability (a.k.a. permanent partial disability) but he/she was also found to have involuntarily retired from the labor market, the finding of involuntary retirement prevents a finding of voluntary withdrawal from the labor market.  This means that, if you are an injured worker who has been classified with a permanent partial disability and in your Notice of Decision the Judge has also found you to have involuntarily retired from the labor market, the Carrier cannot later on threaten to suspend your benefits absent a showing of a documented work search.  You do not need to produce such work search because by definition a finding of involuntary retirement means you cannot work in any capacity, irrespective of what degree of disability is associated with your comp claim.

The finding of involuntary retirement is often obtained by Claimants who have more damage to their health than just the comp injury alone.  Usually if the Claimant has been awarded Social Security Disability benefits they can use that to persuade a Workers' Comp Law Judge (WCLJ) to find them to have involuntarily withdrawn from the labor market. 

So if you are an injured worker that meets the above description and you have recently been harassed by the Comp Carrier to produce a work search record, you should send the Carrier a copy of the Notice of Decision highlighting the portion where you are found to have involuntarily retired.  That should take care of that issue.  If a hearing is required just bring that Decision to the Hearing and have the Judge re-affirm it. 


  1. I was out for a year with two surgeries on my hands, received WC benefits, but recently returned to work, full duty as a court reporter. However, I am finding the work much harder than I used to, with residual effects from the surgeries. Before the damage to my hands from my occupation I would have considered working till my max retirement date of 37 years, but am now just trying to make it through to my 30 year date next June. Would I have any case for involuntary retirement and continued WC benefits because the effects of my injuries are forcing me to forego a larger retirement benefit, even though I am able to currently work full duty, albeit with deficits, pain, and discomfort?

    1. Sorry for the incredibly late reply - I JUST saw your comment. You can only have a finding of involuntary retirement if you are globally disabled from all work, meaning, unable to work in any capacity whether or not that disability comes from a work-related injury. If you are working as a court reporter that would not be possible because clearly you are able to work. However, if you were unable to work because of the injury to your hands and somehow other ailments (depression, anxiety, kidney disease, etc) added to your ability to find a job or work in any capacity then you could apply for SSD, and if successful, SSD approval would make it easier for you to be found to have involuntarily retired from the labor market. Hope you are well and that you had already found your answer given my inexplicably late reply.

  2. Hello Camila, I have been searching for information concerning workman'so compensation and was blessed to happen upon your blog which I find truly refreshing and inspiring. I crave your assistance in my husband's workman's compensation case. My husband was deemed 65 percent permanent partially disabled but before any payment is disbursed, he had to show diligent labor market attachment (this was in June this year). My husband reached out to his attorney to guide him in this regard but they seldom communicate with him. I assisted my husband in his job search and submitted at the hearing yesterday but the judge ruled in the carrier's favor stating that our search did not match up to American Axle. My question is this, has the carrier 'won' the case? What happens next. My husband was already on part time work due to back injury and is on social security disability when he was injured on the job and tore his rotator cuff and spinal cervicalgi a and right sided radiculopathy for this current case. Can he use involuntary retirement against labor market attachment? This case is going on five years old and to be honest with you I feel like my husband's attorney because they have all but abandoned him; they just send a new lawyer everytime we have a hearing, some of whom seem he'll bent on working against rather than for us.

  3. Hi Suzette, and once again I'm sorry for the late reply - I need to get better at this. Each case is different and the finding of involuntary retirement has become more difficult to get but if he does get it then it would defeat a finding of voluntary withdrawal. I do appreciate the kind words and could send him an intake sheet if he's interested and hasn't settled his claim yet.