An Ohio man must repay nearly $20,000 in workers’ compensation benefits after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud. He was accused of collecting benefits while continuing to work at the heating and air conditioning company that he owns.

In addition to being ordered to return the money he received, the man was also sentenced to 11 months in prison. However, that sentence has been suspended while he is on probation. The man must also complete 200 hours of community service and serve 21 days in jail intermittently.

Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to cover injured workers’ medical costs, and in some cases to replace some of the income that is lost if they are unable to work as a result of a work-related medical condition. However, in order to receive income-replacement benefits, the claimant must demonstrate that he or she is truly unable to work.

Partly as a result of situations like the one described above, it can sometimes be difficult for people to receive the income replacement benefits they need when they are truly unable to work. If the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation does not believe that an applicant’s medical condition is severe enough to interfere with his or her work, it may deny the claim.

This is one reason why it can be helpful to work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have been hurt at work or are suffering from an occupational illness. A lawyer with an in-depth understanding of the eligibility determination process can help you prepare your claim and address any potential red flags that could prevent or delay an award of benefits.

Source: WDNT, “Man sentenced for workers’ comp fraud,” Jill Drury, Aug. 1, 2014