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North Carolina’s Standard for Qualifying for Extended Benefits has been Legislatively Changed as Part of September 22, 2023 Budget Legislation

By September 29, 2023No Comments

CHARLOTTE, NC- In response to the Court of Appeals decision in Sturdivant, the North Carolina legislature has clarified the standard required of a plaintiff to qualify for extended benefits due to a “total loss of wage-earning capacity.” Plaintiffs are now required to show the complete elimination of the capacity to earn any wages. The definitions of “disability” and “suitable employment” do not apply, but the commission may (but is not required) to consider preexisting and injury-related physical and mental limitations, vocational skills, education, and experience in determining a total loss of wage-earning capacity. Age is not a factor to be considered.

Larry Baker of Willson Jones Carter & Baxley was significantly involved in negotiating this legislative change.