2017 Update on Workers’ Compensation

This year has been a hard fought battle to protect and increase workers’ benefits under the New York State Workers Compensation System.

The NYS 2017-2018 State budget signed into Law in April of this year protects workers by eliminating the draconian requirement that workers who have been found or are now found by the Compensation board to have a permanent partial disability must look for work consistent with their disability. No longer must the worker prove they are looking for work within their established disability. This dreaded concept was known as having to show they are” attached to the labor market or actively searching for gainful employment.”

Employers and their Insurance companies had been using this “ attachment” criterion to prevent injured workers from receiving monetary benefits for their continued disability sometimes characterized as indemnity benefits.

The second major event occurred when attempts to restrict the amount of monetary benefits permitted by what is called schedules. What is left is the existing law. The attempted restrictions unless modified or altered by the Workers’ Compensation Board, will primarily remain unchanged. As stated a schedule is a determination that permanent injuries to body parts not subject to classification as a permanent partial disability will continue to be given an evaluation on the overall degree of disability with determined and established as a monetary award. This award will be granted for the overall scheduled disability for that body pars involved. This means a set schedule will be found for the amount of disability payable at one time less indemnity payments made leaving open medical benefits for the life of the worker without any reduction of the established schedules as found in the statute.

The attacks on workers benefits has been forestalled at this time by the efforts of many pro-worker advocates and organizations who all deserve praise for their effort and accomplishments.

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