It sometimes seems that the problems with workers’ compensation are like bad weather – everyone talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it. New York’s workers are entitled to protection from the consequences of workplace injury and illness. In most cases, that means benefits for wage loss and payment of medical bills – but the system throws up roadblocks at every turn.
Grey & Grey’s managing partner, Robert Grey, served four two-year terms as the Chair of the New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance (WCA), and at the end of his eight-year tenure he drafted an “Omnibus Bill” that was intended to reform the system and to make it more worker-friendly.
Six pieces of the Omnibus Bill are now being considered by the New York State Legislature. The bills under consideration would:
-Create a presumption that workers who are found eligible for Social Security Disability benefits are also permanently totally disabled for workers’ compensation purposes. Currently, the workers’ compensation system essentially ignores Social Security’s decisions.
-Define total disability as being unable to do your job. The current workers’ compensation standard is that you have to be unable to do ANY work to be totally disabled.
-Require that a hearing be held in every case. This would end the Board’s practice of making decisions without holding a hearing.
-Reduce the “safety net” threshold from a 76% permanent disability to a 51% permanent disability. Workers who are eligible for the safety nets can be relieved from the time limits on their permanent partial disability benefits.
-End the needless technicalities that the Board uses to avoid deciding cases on their merits.
-Require coverage for essential workers with COVID-19-related illness.
Albany lawmakers need to hear that these issues are important to you. The WCA has created a simple website where you can type in your name and address and send a letter to lawmakers.
The link is https://www.protectinjurednewyorkers.org/
Now more than ever working New Yorkers need strong protections!
As always, if you have questions about workers’ compensation, personal injury or Social Security Disability, please feel free to call any of our six offices or to email us at info@GreyAndGrey.com.