Employer Petition Objecting to a Premium
Unit: Responsible: The Bureau department for which the underlying debt
Policy Effective Date: June 1, 2008
Policy Revision Date: October 17,
Complaint Assignment: Employer Petition Objecting to Assessment complaints are assigned to
the Bureau department for which the underlying debt arose.
Management Approval: See sign off
grid at the end of this policy to determine required management level
Prior to taking out a premium judgment
lien against an employer, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4123.37 gives the employer twenty
(20) days to file a “Petition Objecting to the Assessment” with the Administrator
of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). The right to file a
“Petition Objecting to the Assessment” is given to any employer against which
BWC seeks to take a premium judgment lien. The nature of the debt which
drives the need for the lien can be varied. Typical examples
premiums when an employer fails to properly report and pay premiums;
2. Audit findings;
Noncompliance Claims have their own lien
filing procedures and are not subject to a “Petition Objecting to the
Once an employer files a “Petition
Objecting to the Assessment,” the employer is entitled to a hearing.
Therefore, these matters should be automatically set for hearing with the
Adjudicating Committee. In order to perfect a lien, a hearing must be
given to the employer. However, there is no right to an appeal hearing
with the Administrator’s Designee. The employer is entitled to a
“Petition Objecting to the Assessment” hearing even if the employer has exhausted
all appeals through the regular Adjudicating Committee hearing process.
Legal Background: Legal reference
for this policy is found in ORC 4123.37, Failure to Pay
Premiums by Amenable Employer. The following is extracted from
In this section
“amenable employer” has the same meaning as “employer” as defined in division
(J) of section 4123.32 of
the Revised Code.
If the administrator
of workers’ compensation finds that any person, firm, or private corporation,
including any public service corporation, is, or has been at any time after
January 1, 1923, an amenable employer and has not complied with section 4123.35
of the Revised Code the administrator shall determine the period during which
the person, firm, or corporation was an amenable employer and shall forthwith
give notice of the determination to the employer. Within twenty days thereafter
the employer shall furnish the bureau with the payroll covering the period
included in the determination and, if the employer is an amenable employer at
the time of the determination, shall pay a premium security deposit for the
eight months next succeeding the date of the determination and shall pay into
the state insurance fund the amount of premium applicable to such payroll.
If the employer
does not furnish the payroll and pay the applicable premium and premium
security deposit within the twenty days, the administrator shall forthwith make
an assessment of the premium due from the employer for the period the
administrator determined the employer to be an amenable employer including the
premium security deposit according to section 4123.32 of the Revised Code if
the employer is an amenable employer at the time of the determination, basing
the assessment upon the information in the possession of the administrator.
administrator shall give to the employer assessed written notice of the
assessment. The notice shall be mailed to the employer at the employer’s
residence or usual place of business by certified mail. Unless the employer to
whom the notice of assessment is directed files with the bureau within twenty
days after receipt thereof, a petition in writing, verified under oath by the
employer, or the employer’s authorized agent having knowledge of the facts,
setting forth with particularity the items of the assessment objected to,
together with the reason for the objections, the assessment shall become
conclusive and the amount thereof shall be due and payable from the employer so
assessed to the state insurance fund.
When a petition
objecting to an assessment is filed the bureau shall assign a time and place
for the hearing of the same and shall notify the petitioner thereof by
certified mail. When an employer files a petition the assessment made by the
administrator shall become due and payable ten days after notice of the finding
made at the hearing has been sent by certified mail to the party assessed. An
appeal may be taken from any finding to the court of common pleas of Franklin
county upon the execution by the party assessed of a bond to the state in
double the amount found due and ordered paid by the bureau conditioned that the
party will pay any judgment and costs rendered against it for the premium.
When no petition
objecting to an assessment is filed or when a finding is made affirming or
modifying an assessment after hearing, a certified copy of the assessment as
affirmed or modified may be filed by the administrator in the office of the
clerk of the court of common pleas in any county in which the employer has
property or in which the employer has a place of business. The clerk,
immediately upon the filing of the assessment, shall enter a judgment for the
state against the employer in the amount shown on the assessment. The judgment
may be filed by the clerk in a loose leaf book entitled “special judgments for
state insurance fund.” The judgment shall bear the same rate of interest, have
the same effect as other judgments, and be given the same preference allowed by
law on other judgments rendered for claims for taxes. An assessment or judgment
under this section shall not be a bar to the adjustment of the employer’s
account upon the employer furnishing the employer’s payroll records to the
for good cause shown, may waive a default in the payment of premium where the
default is of less than sixty days’ duration, and upon payment by the employer
of the premium for the period, the employer and the employer’s employees are
entitled to all of the benefits and immunities provided by this chapter.
Purpose of this
The purpose of this
policy is to outline the extenuating circumstances under which an objection
would be accepted as timely received when the employer has failed to respond
within the required twenty days (20 days).
The specific scenarios listed in the
policy contain details on the conditions under which BWC will accept as timely
an objection received beyond the required twenty days (20 days).
When BWC personnel is recommending that an employer's objection be accepted as
timely when received after the required twenty days (20 days), management
approval is required prior to accepting the objection as timely received.
The steps listed below should be followed
when evaluating a petition for reassessment that has been received within the
required time limitations, and where there are extenuating circumstances
associated with the reason the employer failed to file a petition within the
required time limitations.
is general in nature and cannot address all potential situations.
finding that a good cause exists to grant a request for relief must provide
adequate documentation to support such finding.
Findings of good
cause must be brought to the attention of the immediate supervisor for review
The Bureau Department for which the
underlying debt arose from should be the Department which handles the “Petition
Objecting to an Assessment.” Example: if the underlying debt is an
audit finding, then the Audit department would handle the complaint. If
the underlying debt is an estimated premium assessment, then Accounting
Collections would handle the complaint. The best way to determine if the
employer is entitled to a hearing is to contact the Accounting Collections Unit
and determine when the “210 letter” was sent to the employer. If the
petition is received within 20 days of the “210 letter” being sent then the
employer is entitled to a hearing. If there is a question about whether
the letter is timely or not, the “210 letters” are sent certified mail.
The certification card is scanned to UDS and can be used to determine timely
receipt of petition.
All timely “Petitions Objecting to an
Assessment” must be accepted by the Bureau and all must be set for
hearing. The only exceptions shall be: 1) Debt in which the Bureau
is not attempting to secure under 4123.37; or 2) Petitions not timely filed.
Adjustment of the Employer’s
Per ORC 4123.37 an assessment or
judgment does not bar the adjustment of the employer’s account upon the
employer furnishing payroll records to BWC. The complaint handler retains
the ability to assist the employer to report actual payroll, through the
submission of payroll records. The employer must submit documentation to
support the payroll records if the payroll period(s) involved are greater than
two years from the beginning of the current payroll period.
When actual payroll is entered into
WCIS, the estimated payroll will be voided. The Attorney General will
receive a systematic update so the correct balance is being collected from the
employer. The employer is still responsible for all interest and
collection fees billed, unless the original balance was certified in
error. The lien will stay in place until the balance is paid in full.
Note: the complaint
handler can accept actual payroll, with appropriate documentation, even if the
employer’s petition objecting to a premium assessment is denied under this
Evaluate Scenarios with
When researching and evaluating a
petition for reassessment filed by an employer or its authorized representative
that was received beyond the required twenty days (20 days), you will encounter
situations having unusual or extenuating circumstances that resulted in the
petition being filed beyond the required twenty days (20 days).
If one of the scenarios listed below is
identified, the steps outlined in this policy should be followed.
and document the facts.
if an extenuating circumstance exits.
management approval as outlined in this policy.
Petition Objecting to a Premium Assessment to the Adjudication Committee to be
set for hearing.
Scenarios That Do Not Qualify as
Extenuating Circumstances: The following are examples of scenarios that should
NOT be categorized as being an extenuating circumstance.
to the management staff within the organization
in personnel or CPA
or CPA error
over Ohio workers’ compensation law and rules
of a new computer system
That Qualify as Extenuating Circumstances
Scenario 1: Scenarios Involving a
Significant Unpredictable Event.
scenario is intended to include situations that are unpredictable and out of
the employer’s control that prevented the employer from filing appropriate
paperwork in a timely manner. Situations falling under this scenario
may include, but are not limited to:
of Nature such as a tornado, flood, etc.
loss events such as water line break, fire, etc.
in the workplace.
must be a direct correlation between the event and the reason the employer
failed to file a petition for reassessment within the required twenty days (20
Scenario 2: Scenario Involving
Notification Not Reaching the Intended Employer
scenario deals with a situation when notification of assessment is received by
a person not associated with the business and not forwarded to the employer.
employer is required to provide BWC with a valid address. Non-notification
due to the employer failing to provide BWC with a valid address is not an
acceptable extenuating circumstance.
Scenario 3: Scenarios Involving
Serious Illness, Injury, or Death of Essential Personnel.
deals with a situation where essential personnel within the organization; such
as the owner, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer; has a serious
illness, injury or death that prevented the employer from filing appropriate
paperwork or documentation (either hard copy or electronic) in a timely manner.
physician’s verification must accompany the request. Such physician
verification should not include specific medical reasons for the absence, but
must include the dates the essential personnel missed work due to serious
illness, injury, or death.
must be a direct correlation between the absence of the essential personnel and
the reason the employer was unable to complete the required activities within
the required timeframes.
extenuating circumstance may be utilized only to extend the required
timeframe to meet a specific requirement. It cannot be used to
allow non-completion of the specific requirement.
Scenario 4: Scenarios Where Key
Personnel/Owner Called to Active Military Duty.
deals with a situation where essential personnel within the organization such
as the owner, officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial
Officer has been called to active military duty that prevents the employer
from filing appropriate paperwork in a timely manner.
a recommendation is being made to accept as timely an employer’s petition for
reassessment that has been received beyond the required twenty days (20 days),
supporting documentation must be provided to validate the accuracy of the
information submitted by the employer.
of appropriate supporting documentation are as follows:
report or insurance claim related to a natural disaster or significant event.
indication that the person signing for the certified mail is not/has not ever
been an employee of the employer.
certificate or statement from treating physician.
order/call to active duty.
the Complaint Tracker. Documentation must include:
information (i.e., background and other related facts).
state your recommendation and rationale for same.
name(s) of documents in UDS.
Obtain Approval For Your Recommendations
the assigned BWC staff member has evaluated the complaint and made a
determination, the staff member will forward their recommendation for
management approval using the complaint tracking system. The system
will automatically forward the complaint to the next level for review and
approval. (refer to approval sign-off at beginning of this policy)
each level of approval, the reviewer will indicate approval or denial using the
complaint tracking system. The final reviewer will notify the initially
assigned BWC staff member and the appropriate BWC unit of their action.
Management approval in the complaint tracking system
does not mean the employer’s request is granted. Management approval
means management is agreeing with the BWC staff member’s recommendation to
either grant or deny the employer’s request.
upon whether the complaint is returned to the service
office or to a central processing unit, the responsible individual/unit will:
Send the employer a written response explaining the results of the
WCIS notepad entry to document the result of the
out the Complaint Tracker entry.
all documentation in the UDS Employer Electronic File
Management Sign-Off Chart
DEBT AROSE (see below*)
of Underwriting & Premium Audit if granting and financial impact is >
premiums, failure to report & properly pay premium, including
of Underwriting & Premium Audit if financial impact is > $5,000 either
grant or deny complaint
of Employer Services if financial impact is > $100,000 either grant or
Actuarial if granting and financial impact is > $1,000
Actuarial Officer if granting and financial impact is > $10,000
Combine, Earlier effective date*
of Underwriting & Premium Audit if financial impact is > $10,000
either grant or deny