WORKERS COMP: FRAZIER V. MORSEY (COA 1/19/07)

FRAZIER V. MORSEY
Workers Compensation: Widows benefits
2006-CA-000895
NOT PUBLISHED: REVERSING AND REMANDING; JOHNSON
DATE RENDERED: 1/19/2007

The employee/decedent died as a result of a work related injury, and his widow received benefits pursuant to KRS 342.750. However, a dispute arose as to when the benefits would terminate. The limiting statute states that all benefits cease when the employee qualifies for normal old-age retirement under the Social Security Act, which is 65 for many people and increases to 67 based on year of birth. However, the statute goes on to say that spouse and dependents benefits cease when the worker upon whose earnings entitlement is based would have qualified for normal old-age Social Security benefits. Although this language resulted in four different interpretations by the parties, the ALJ , and the Workers’ Compensation Board, the Court of Appeals felt that the language was unambiguous and required an interpretation that the benefits terminate when the widow would have qualified for widows’ benefits under the Social Security act, the month after she would turn 62. 

By Peter Naake, ed.

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