Robin Hamilton v. Maine Dept. of Health & Human Services

Insurance Company

Maine Workers' Compensation Division

Date Decided

January 25, 2022

Panel Members

Timothy Collier

Elizabeth Elwin

Evelyn Knopf


Post-Injury Earnings Partial Incapacity Partial Incapacity Post-Injury Earnings


post injury earnings

File Size

172 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Robin Hamilton v Maine DHHS (attached) - Hamilton sustained a mental injury at work and was awarded partial incapacity benefits based on an imputed weekly earning capacity of $150. She then worked as a respite caregiver in her home at $90 per day, from which she paid her clients' food and beverages. Later she contracted with a service agency to care for her disabled sister at her home for a stipend $37,000 per year, including food, beverages and travel to appointments, plus an additional $697 per month for room and board.

DHHS filed a Petition for Review claiming a change in her economic circumstances and requesting reduction in her benefits. Judge Hirtle granted the petition and reduced her benefits in accordance with her current stipend but not her additional room and board payment. Both parties appealed, and the Appellate Division vacated the decision in part.

The panel noted that, while current earnings are prima facie proof of earning capacity, they are not dispositive of the issue. Hamilton was assisted by her family in caring for sister, and she could let likely not have done the same job elsewhere. The panel members upheld Judge Hirtle's exclusion of the room and board payment from "income," but they remanded the case for further findings on her earning capacity.

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