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New York Workers’ Compensation Benefits Increase

For the first time in over a decade, workers’ compensation benefits in New York are increasing,  according to a report released in December by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.

The wage replacement benefit for injured workers in New York has been fixed at $400 a week for the past 15 years.  However, a reform law passed in 2007 established steady increases until the year 2010.

After the reform law was enacted, the weekly benefits paid to injured workers immediately went up to $500.  Over the next two years, the benefit is supposed to go up to $760 as long as the weekly wage for New York stays at $1,141, according to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s report.

In addition, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s report discusses the board’s efforts to stabilize the self-insurance industry in New York.  New York Governor David Paterson signed legislation in June to improve transparency with trusts that are self-insured.  This year alone, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has taken control of numerous state trusts due to insolvency.

The reform law also developed a fund to make sure claims were paid by the defaulted trusts, which was an action the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board stated should, “alleviate some of the burden placed on employers by these defaults.”

According to Zachary S. Weiss, Chair of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, “In the past year, there have been great changes in the workers’ compensation system in New York—changes that were necessary for New York State and the Workers’ Compensation Board to fulfill their obligation to both workers and employers.”

Workers’ compensation benefits provide medical care and weekly cash benefits to workers injured on the job in New York.  By law, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage.