Following establishing a claim for workers' compensation benefits by an employee [Claimant], which claim was subsequently amended twice to include other injuries, the self-insured employer [Employer] raised the issue of whether Claimant had violated Workers' Compensation Law §114-a by making a false statement or representation of a material fact for the purpose of obtaining workers' compensation benefits.
Following a hearing, a Workers' Compensation Law Administrative Law Judge [ALJ] found that Claimant violated §114-a and imposed a penalty of "a rescission of awards, as well as a disqualification of future awards." Claimant subsequently appealed a panel of the Workers' Compensation Board sustaining the ALJ's determination.
The Appellate Division upheld the Board's decision. Citing §114-a , the court explained that "A fact is considered material when it is significant or essential to the issue or matter at hand." Further, if supported by substantial evidence, the Appellate Division explained that the Board's determination that a person violated Workers' Compensation Law §114-a will not be disturbed.
In this instance the Board had found that Claimant violated §114-a by making a false statement of fact about her work activities and by failing to disclose critical information to an examining physician.*
Because substantial evidence supports the Board's determination that claimant violated Workers' Compensation Law §114-a, the Appellate Division held that "it will not be disturbed," and found Claimant's challenge to the imposed penalty to be without merit.
* The Appellate Division noted that its review of the record confirms the Board's finding that although Claimant testified that, since her classification with a permanent total disability, she had not worked in any capacity or run any businesses, in the subsequent disqualification hearing that Claimant stated that she had operated a photography business and took photographs for parties and family events.
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