This case involved an employee with a partial work capacity and permanent impairment below the threshold for continued partial benefits. She reached her durational limit (364 weeks) as of February 23, 2007. In a November 29, 2007 Decree, the Board found the employee had received all benefits to which she was entitled. The employee did not appeal that decision, making it final.
Five days later the Board amended its Rules, extending the durational limit an additional 52 weeks. The effective date of the amendment was January 1, 2007. The employee filed a Petition for Review claiming entitlement to the extension and the Hearing Officer granted the Petition. Tambrands appealed.
In this case, the Court had an opportunity to answer a question that was not before it inAbbott v. School Administrative District No. 53, 2000 ME 201, 762 A.2d 546. In that case the Court held that only employees who are still entitled to benefits on the date of the extension are entitled to the additional weeks. However, in that case the employee’s entitlement ran before both the date the extension was adopted and the retroactive effective date. The Court therefore did not specifically address whether it was the adopted date or effective date that controlled.
In the present case, the employee’s entitlement ran before the date the extension was adopted in December 2007 but after the retroactive effective date, which was January 2, 2007. The Court held that it is the effective date that controls. As long as an employee has a right to receive benefits after the effective date of the extension, they are entitled to the extension.