When workers are injured on the job, they often need months of medical treatment and physical therapy. Many injured workers are unable to return to work for several months or years due to their injuries. In some cases, they can never perform the same job functions they once did due to a permanent disability or loss of a body part.
Workers who are out of work for long periods of time due to injuries need to be able to make ends meet. They need to be able to pay their rent or mortgage. They need to be able to put food on the table and have heat and running water. In addition to day-to-day living expenses, injured workers are faced with costly medical bills.
The purpose of workers' compensation is to provide financial benefits to those who are out of work due to an injury or illness. It provides compensation to cover medical expenses and partial wage loss until a worker is able to return to his or her job.
The NY workers' comp system no longer what it once was
At one time in history, New York had one of the best workers' compensation systems in the nation. Since the 1990s, workers' compensation in New York has been deteriorating and payments to injured workers have been declining.
Workers' compensation payments decreased even more due to legislative and administrative changes in 2007 and 2017, according to the Center for New York City Affairs. These changes benefited the workers' compensation insurance companies the most. At the same time, employer costs have been minimized to only a 0.7 percent share of total employee compensation.
In 2018, workers' compensation insurance company profits increased to $1.6 billion. In fact, the State Insurance Fund profited by $1 billion in 2018 and accrued a surplus of more than $7 billion.
- The New York Workers' Compensation Board doesn't guarantee hearings to all injured workers.
- There are many workers who don't get 2/3 of their weekly wages until they are able to go back to work.
- Injured workers must be below the poverty line to prove financial hardship.
- The New York Workers' Compensation System doesn't consider injured workers who collect Social Security disability to be permanently totally disabled.
This shows that the New York workers' compensation system is no longer what it was once intended to be. Instead of protecting workers, it now lines the pockets of insurance companies. That's not right.
What can be done to fix this broken system?
We want our state lawmakers to pass legislation that will make workers' rights a priority over profit for insurance companies. You can take action by sending a prewritten, editable letter to Governor Cuomo, state senators, and your assembly member. Click here to get started.
If you sustained an injury on the job, the attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law can help you file a claim and get the compensation you need. Contact us online to learn more.