On June 24, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Cause No. 15-0025, Texas Department of Ins., Division of Workers’ Compensation v. Bonnie Jones and American Home Assurance Co.
Bonnie Jones was injured in 2005 in the course and scope of employment. She received medical and income benefits through her workers’ compensation insurance carrier, American Home Assurance Company. Questions arose regarding her entitlement to certain Supplemental Income Benefits (“SIBs”). At a Contested Case Hearing, the Hearing Officer found that Jones had not made the requisite work searches to qualify for her fourteenth quarter of SIBs. Jones exercised her right to appeal, and a settlement for partial SIBs in the amount of $1,572.90 was reached between Ms. Jones and American Home. The Division of Workers’ Compensation intervened, and appealed the settlement.
The Texas Supreme Court determined the settlement did not comply with the Texas Labor Code, noting that “a court cannot approve of a settlement that declares the worker ‘partially’ eligible for SIBs during a given quarter.”