Last year New York workers saw sweeping reforms of the workers’ compensation system. Reforms were implemented to address issues like low compensation payment amounts, a massive backlog of claims, and high premium costs. Now workers are wondering if these reforms are actually making a difference, or if this is just more hot air from the Board.
According to a report issued in December 2007 by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, the Board dedicated a great deal of effort to implementing the reforms of 2007 and to improving their own internal performance. According to the report, so far since the reforms “benefits have increased while costs have decreased; injured workers are getting benefits faster; and fraud is being rooted out of the system.”
Top three benefits of the recent Worker’s Compensation reforms?
According to the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board, the top three benefits of the recent reforms are as follows:
- Benefits for injured workers increased. At last, for the first time in over ten years the maximum amount of money that can be paid to injured workers was raised. When injured, a worker can receive two-thirds of their pay, up to the maximum benefit amount. Immediately after the reforms were implemented, the maximum allowable benefit payment went up to $500 from $400 per week.
- Workers’ Compensation premium costs to employers reduced. New York employers were paying the highest amount in the nation for the state’s compensation program two years ago. However, since implementing the 2007 reforms a recent study ranked New York employers as paying the 19th highest amount for their workers’ compensation program. Additional savings will be realized when a further 5% rate reduction goes into effect.
- The compensation claim procedures have been streamlined. Before the 2007 reforms, if an employer disagreed with an employee’s compensation claim filing it took an average of 200 days to resolve the dispute. However, as a part of the reform efforts the board will try to resolve all disputes within 90 days. In order to meet this 90 day goal the Board streamlined its review process, making changes like requiring that the medical report be included alongside a statement from the employee or employer. In addition, claim forms have been redesigned and the process for hearing appeals has been changed, reducing the case backlog by 25%.
The changes implemented by the Board were a long time in coming, and we hope to see more improvements that benefit New York State workers. If you have any questions about your New York workers’ compensation claim, please contact the law offices of Markhoff & Mittman. Our attorneys can help you receive the assistance that you need.