The law states that any employee who loses a limb while on the job will receive the maximum workers compensation payment that is available. In New York this benefit stands at a weekly rate of $400 for 312 weeks. It is legal, however, for a worker who suffers from incurable pain in their lower back to continue to collect benefits for his lifetime. A 1914 law instituted to manage workers comp created the discrepancy in benefits for these two types of injury.
This law formed a schedule for many disabling injuries, however, it did not cover all of them. Specific guidelines were set up regarding the length of benefits for loss of hearing or the loss of a limb. Some benefits, which aren’t specifically mentioned by workers’ compensation law, can earn the sufferer indefinite payments, whether the disability is permanent or partial. Included in these are conditions like mental strain or back trouble. This has brought about a workers compensation system that reimburses 70% of its profit dollars to only 13% of clients’ situations.
The premium for workers’ compensation is seventy-two percent above the United States average in New York. Both local businesses and governments have been subjected to the loss of income caused by these high premiums.
Alternately, other states within the same geographic area offer more than New York’s $400 per week maximum compensation amount. This faulty system is now being evaluated by local governments within the state of New York. A lot of states have already taken the steps of increasing their maximum payout to a maximum of $686 a week. A short time ago,
Texas retained one of the worst workers’ compensation programs in the country. However, changes have been made to the system, it has the nation’s third-highest workers’ compensation costs and the highest rate of injured employees. Doctors in Texas are also dropping out of servicing worker’s compensation claims at a high rate. Texas solved their worker’s compensation problem by building new physician networks and making a small increase in the benefits available to injured workers. Now, Texas ranks as one of the best workers’ compensation programs in the United States.
— F&A Injury Lawyers (@866ATTYLAW) June 23, 2018
In New York, the concepts that have been introduced to the debate comprise of restricting the amount of time for benefits on permanent partial disabilities that last for ten years. Yet another method included is boosting the weekly benefit limits up to $500. This combination of changes would help reduce premium costs by an estimated 15percent. One hope is that any additional concepts or ideas that are presented to the government body will improve and boost the benefits that much more. Getting to a middle ground on a raised benefit compensation rate is the most apparent route to fixing the issues with workers’ comp benefits. There also needs to be resolution to long term ongoing cases of back pain. The State of California has already implemented such reforms within its compensation laws.
In California, the petition drive was initiated in order to place the question onto the actual ballot. Faced with a constituency that clearly favored changing the law, state legislators were forced to rewrite worker’s compensation. With the lack of a choice for a petition drive, the key to attaining New York’s reformation is by motivating frontrunners to bring that issue to the forefront. Local government officials need to contact state legislators and tell them that this is a top priority for both small businesses that are struggling to make payments and local governments that are taking on more with less money.