(a) Income benefits shall be paid periodically, promptly, and directly to the person entitled thereto, without an award, except where liability is controverted by the employer. Payments shall be made in cash, by negotiable instrument, or, upon agreement of the parties, by electronic funds transfer.
(b) The first payment of income benefits shall become due on the twenty-first day after the employer has knowledge of the injury or death, on which day all income benefits then due shall be paid. Thereafter, income benefits shall be due and payable in weekly installments; provided, however, that the board may, in its discretion, authorize payments to be made in different installments if it determines that this would be beneficial to all parties concerned. Such weekly payments shall be considered to be paid when due when mailed from within the State of Georgia to the address specified by the employee or to the address of record according to the board. Such weekly payments shall be considered to be paid when due when mailed from outside the State of Georgia no later than three days prior to the due date to the address specified by the employee or the address of record according to the board. Such weekly payments shall be considered to be paid when due at the time they are made by electronic funds transfer to an account specified by the employee.
(c) Upon making the first payment and upon suspension of payment for any cause, the employer shall immediately notify the board and the employee, in accordance with forms prescribed by the board, that payment of income benefits has begun or has been suspended, as the case may be.
(d) If the employer controverts the right to compensation, it shall file with the board, on or before the twenty-first day after knowledge of the alleged injury or death, a notice in accordance with the form prescribed by the board, stating that the right of compensation is controverted and stating the name of the claimant, the name of the employer, the date of the alleged injury or death, and the ground upon which the right to compensation is controverted.
(e) If any income benefits payable without an award are not paid when due, there shall be added to the accrued income benefits an amount equal to 15 percent thereof, which shall be paid at the same time as, but in addition to, the accrued income benefits unless notice is filed under subsection (d) of this Code section or unless this nonpayment is excused by the board after a showing by the employer that owing to conditions beyond control of the employer the income benefits could not be paid within the period prescribed.
(f) If income benefits payable under the terms of an award are not paid within 20 days after becoming due, there shall be added to the accrued income benefits an amount equal to 20 percent thereof, which shall be paid at the same time as, but in addition to, the accrued benefits unless review of the award is granted by the board.
(g) Within 30 days after final payment of compensation, the employer shall send to the board a notice in accordance with the form prescribed by the board, stating that final payment has been made and stating the total amount of compensation paid, the name of the employee and any other person to whom compensation has been paid, the date of the injury or death, and the date to which income benefits have been paid.
(h) Where compensation is being paid without an award, the right to compensation shall not be controverted except upon the grounds of change in condition or newly discovered evidence unless notice to controvert is filed with the board within 60 days of the due date of first payment of compensation.
(i) Where compensation is being paid with or without an award and an employer or insurer elects to controvert on the grounds of a change in condition or newly discovered evidence, the employer shall, not later than ten days prior to the due date of the first omitted payment of income benefits, file with the board and the employee or beneficiary a notice to controvert the claim in the manner prescribed by the board.
(j) The board or any administrative law judge shall issue such orders as may be necessary to enforce the penalty provisions of this Code section.