Escalating workers’ compensation insurance premiums over the years have caused accusations of claims fraud to become widespread. It can be so bad that workers who are injured on the job are treated with suspicion by the very people who are supposed to help them in their time of need. However, investigations and studies have revealed that individual workers aren’t the source of the problem it’s their employers, who are looking for ways to skimp on their insurance plans.
Studies have estimated that employers cheat the New York State workers’ compensation system by $500 million to $1 billion each year. These unpaid premiums mean that other employers have to pay more to cover the state’s workers’ compensation program, making premiums higher for everyone.
Common Forms of Employer Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Some workers’ compensation experts have stated that reporting false information about employees and payroll has become an accepted practice in New York State. This attitude means that workers are being cheated out of better compensation payouts and benefits and that law-abiding employers must pay higher premiums to make up for the shortfall. Here are some of the ways that New York State employers are cheating the system:
- Under reporting payroll to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to reduce the amount paid for worker’s compensation insurance. Workers comp insurance premiums are based on a company’s payroll, so some employers under report their payroll in order to pay lower premiums.
- Paying cash-only to workers. Cash-only wages for workers often aren’t reported at all to the Compensation Board and therefore no insurance premiums are paid. This means there are no benefits for these workers if they’re injured on the job.
- Misreporting worker’s job classifications to lower insurance premiums. Companies will sometimes change the job classification of an employee in order to lower premiums. For example, one way to cheat and save money is to classify a construction worker as a clerk, a clerk being much less expensive to insure.
- Classifying employees as independent contractors to save on insurance premiums. Since companies don’t have to pay insurance premiums for independent contractors, they will classify employees like taxi drivers or truck drivers as independent, thereby saving themselves money.
You’re right to be concerned if you’ve been injured on the job and are going to or have had to file a workers’ compensation claim. Will you be treated fairly by your employer? Will you be bullied into dropping your claim? Will you receive all of the compensation you deserve, or will you be cheated out of money that you so desperately need? If you think you need help navigating the treacherous waters of workers’ comp, then please don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Markhoff & Mittman.
Please visit our online law library for more informative articles about New York workers’ compensation. Articles like “What You Need to Know About the NY Workers’ Comp Process”, “Benefits Available to Injured NY Workers” and “Medical Benefits Under New York Workers’ Compensation Law” will help you to better understand the workers’ compensation process and your rights as an injured worker.