OhioBWC - Basics: (Policy library) - File

Policy and Procedure Name:

Custody, Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Incapacitation

Policy #:


Code/Rule Reference:

The Ohio Constitution, Article 1, Section 1 and Section 16; R.C. 1337.22(E); R.C. 4123.89; O.A.C. 4123-3-08; O.A.C. 4123-3-10.

Effective Date:



Kevin R. Abrams, Chief Operating Officer


Claims Policy


11/14/16; Policy and procedure #CP-03-06, effective 07/19/13


Rev. 11/14/16; New 07/19/13




The purpose of this policy is to provide general guidance relating to the legal concepts of custody, guardianship, power of attorney and incapacitation. 




This policy applies to claim services staff.




Claimant: One who asserts a right, demand or claim for workers’ compensation benefits.


Conservator:  A guardian appointed by a probate court at the request of a mentally competent adult who is physically unable to manage some aspects of life.  Powers of the Conservator are specified by the requestor of the conservatorship and set forth in the probate court order.


Custody: The immediate charge, care and control of a thing or person.


Guardian: A person lawfully vested with the power, and charged with the duty, of taking care of and/or managing the property and rights of another person because the person is of minor age, has a defect of understanding or self-control, or is considered incapable of administering his or her own affairs. 


Incapacitated: The inability to manage property or business affairs because the individual has an impairment in the ability to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions even with the use of technological assistance.


Power of Attorney: A written document that conveys the legal authority to act for another person in specified matters.




A.    It is the policy of BWC to provide a claimant with all legal rights afforded by law unless the authority to exercise such rights has been given to another via statute, court order or a legally binding written instrument executed by the claimant (e.g., a power of attorney).


B.    It is the policy of BWC that a minor child who is injured or suffers an occupational disease in the course and scope of employment has the legal capacity to act on his or her own behalf and file a claim directly with BWC without the assistance of a parent or guardian.


C.   It is the policy of BWC that if BWC or the Industrial Commission determines that it is in the best interest of the claimant that a guardian be appointed to receive benefits payable, payment shall be withheld until such guardian is appointed.


D.   It is the policy of BWC, in the event a claimant is unable to complete the first report of injury (FROI) due to physical or mental disability, to allow the FROI to be completed and filed by the claimant’s spouse, next friend, guardian or employer. 




A.    Claim services staff shall follow the direction of any subject-matter specific policy that addresses custody, guardianship, power of attorney (POA), and incapacitation. In the absence of a subject-matter specific policy, field staff shall follow this policy and procedure.


B.    If claims services staff receive notice or are otherwise alerted that another person may have some legal right to act on behalf of a claimant, claim services staff shall:

1.    Contact the claimant and/or the person claiming such rights and request the supporting legal documentation;

2.    Ensure the submitted documentation is imaged into the claim file; and

3.    Consult with the local BWC attorney to determine the specific rights bestowed by the document(s).


C.   In general, documentation addressing the legal right one may have to act on behalf of another person may include:

1.    Birth certificates or other documents relating to custody; 

2.    Guardianship of the person or the estate;

3.    Power of Attorney;

4.    Court orders establishing a conservator.


D.   Entering Information into the Claims Management System

1.    Claim services staff shall ensure any verified guardian:

a.    Is entered into the claims management system as a customer with the appropriate relationship identified; and

b.    Entered into the claim as a participant.

2.    Claim services staff may refer to the PowerSuite Training Manual – Initial Notification for more information.


E.    Claim services staff shall accept a FROI filed by a minor child on his or her own behalf. If there is any conflict or question regarding the minor child/claimant’s continued capacity to act on his or her own behalf, claim services staff shall consult with the BWC attorney.


F.    Incapacitation

1.    If claim services staff receive notice or have reason to believe that a claimant may be incapacitated, as defined by this policy, claim services staff shall contact the local BWC attorney to determine what, if any, action needs to be taken relating to the claim.

2.    Claim services staff shall not assume that the physical inability of a claimant to sign a document, by itself, establishes incapacity and the need of a guardian. See the Signature on Applications policy and procedure for additional information.