Hi this is Brian Wiklendt with Garfinkel Schwartz we’re here in our Maitland Florida office today and we’re doing what we call a Labor Market Survey. “What is a Labor Market Survey?” Let’s talk about how they work, when they happen and what goes on in a Labor Market Survey.
Under the Defense Base Act, the insurance company has the right to do what’s called a Vocational Assessment and they do a Labor Market Survey based on that assessment.
If you’re involved and you’re partially disabled, you have lack of earning capacity benefits.
What the insurance company is charged to do under the law is a Vocational Assessment to see what type of jobs they can find for you that you’re qualified to do.
How a Labor Market Survey Works
It’s not really a formalized process and it usually happens by phone. And the Vocational Assessors is certified to do his job or her job and then they go through all of your past history. All of your educational experience. Anything that you’ve done overseas or anywhere else.
Schooling, Certifications, Work History
They go through not only your schooling but any certifications that you might have. They go through the history of where you’ve worked throughout your entire life.
Mental and Physical Limitations
They go through your medical problems whether that be mental or physical to see what type of limitations you have. And the limitations are usually posed by the independent medical examiner or your treating physician.
Hopefully it’s your treating physician and you have certain limitations and jobs that they can’t try to force you to apply for or to do.
The judge doesn’t actually look at whether or not you’re going to get these jobs.
All the judge does is look at whether you’re qualified to do the job and whether the job really exists. Whether or not it’s in a correct geographical location 75 miles or so away from your house or potentially overseas if you’ve done a lot of overseas work.
And then the judge determines whether or not you can mentally or physically do that job.
Formula May Lower Your Benefits
If that occurs, they’re going to lower your benefits or maybe even cut your benefits off. It’s based on a formula.
So say you made $120,000 overseas in Iraq and they find a job that they think that you can do say in London or here, we’re in Orlando right now.
So say my client could get a job for $50,000 and he’s qualified to do that and he can do that mentally or physically.
The judge is going to put a circle on that job. He’s going to subtract the $120,000 minus the $50,000 times two thirds. That’s what your residual lack of earning capacity is.
If you don’t do the Labor Market Survey and the Vocational Assessment they can cut your benefits off for failure to comply. Just like they can if you refuse to go to an IME (Independent Medical Exam.)
So what I suggest is if they’re doing this they’re on the verge of trying to reduce your benefits or cut them off. Whether or not you like the jobs or not.
Hire a Lawyer to Protect You
And so I really would suggest that you hire a lawyer like me or someone else that knows how to do this area of law known especially under the Defense Base Act where these things tend to get complicated.
They also might give you a kind of vocational exam where they test your reading comprehension, math skills and verbal skills. You shouldn’t be afraid of that.
But the best thing to do is to have an attorney on hand before they go about using this information to cut you off or reduce your benefits.
And the only thing that that does is basically it allows me to prepare you for the thing.
Sit here and stand in and make sure that it’s done honestly.
And then I also chime in because it’s informal. I chime in on things that they’re not asking that they would want you to know. They would need to know and the judge would want to know if they’re trying to like not talk about things that you would like to do or that you’re qualified to do because they’re trying to pigeon-hole you into some kind of high paying job. That you may or may not be qualified to do.
It’s my job to chime in and say, “hey, wait a minute. Why don’t you talk to them about the fact that he wants to go back to college. Or why don’t you talk about the fact that he wants to go back and do human resources work instead of warehousing or security force work.
So it’s an important step in the process and you don’t want to get bitten by a Labor Market Survey that you’re really not in control of.
And then all of a sudden you get your check in the mail and it’s half the amount that it was before.
And then they later tell you that it’s because of this Labor Market Survey and all these great jobs they could find you.
So like I said, it’s an important part of the process and you have to do it and usually happens most of the time especially if you’re not totally, permanently disabled.
They will try to find jobs that you’re qualified to do and they’ll try to reduce your benefits accordingly.
So I hope I was some help and if you ever need me, please call anytime.
Again this is Brian Wiklendt signing off at Garfinkel Schwartz here in Maitland, Florida.