The rules regarding fraud through the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) are fairly straightforward, but its oftentimes the gray areas that bring on the investigators. The BWC is very proud of their fraud investigation team, going so far as to post tweets on their twitter feed (which can be found on the BWC website) regarding injured workers who have been busted for committing fraud. If you remember a few quick tips, it should help you avoid the increased stress, anxiety, and financial burden that a fraud investigation can create in your life.
First, keep in mind that the idea behind the bi-weekly payments that you receive from workers compensation are to REPLACE the income that you otherwise would have received from working your normal job duties. Fraud comes into play when an injured worker is receiving those bi-weekly benefits AND also working at the same time. The BWC requires you to sign an affidavit of sorts, called a C-84, which states that you are not working while receiving bi-weekly benefits. Therefore, ANY work while receiving those benefits is automatically considered fraud in the eyes of the BWC.
Second, and probably the largest gray area, is that you cant do anything that amounts to work. Even if you are just helping out your friend or working for your parents business, if you are getting paid at all, it is fraud. If you work once a week for a friend, the BWC will come after you for ALL of the money that you were paid from the BWC during the weeks/months that you were only working once a week.
Some frequently asked questions:
- Can I work part-time while I am receiving bi-weekly paychecks through the BWC? —Answer: NO you cannot work at all.
- How does the BWC find out that you are working? —Answer: It is almost always a co-worker, friend, or family member that turns in an injured worker who is double-dipping.
- What if I cant make the payments on my bills because the BWC bi-weekly payments are not enough? —Answer: Keep in mind the BWC does not concern itself with your individual financial situation.
- What if I have questions about the rules and regulations you are talking about? —Answer: That is a great time to consult an attorney to help guide you through the process.
Understand that the BWC draws a hard line when it comes to fraud and they have made catching people that defraud the system a priority. As long as you dont work while you are receiving bi-weekly benefits, you can avoid the penalties and potential criminal charges related to BWC fraud.