Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Poverty and Workers’ CompensationDecember 30, 2016
Workers’ Compensation is supposed to protect employees who have been injured on the job. Too often, injured workers face the prospect of losing their job, their home, and their financial security because many Workers’ Compensation systems fail to provide adequate benefits. According to a report by the Department of Labor (DOL), Workers’ Compensation plans are making it more difficult for injured employees to qualify for benefits, and are tight-fisted with the benefits that they do grant. As a result, workers who have been injured on the job are at risk of becoming poverty stricken when faced with medical bills combined with an inability to work.
Traditionally, Workers’ Compensation is regulated by each state. However, many states have not only discouraged employees from applying for benefits, but they limit the benefits that they provide. In addition, some states placed limits on the number of weeks that an employee can receive payments. Some states even allow employers to opt out of Workers’ Compensation plans, giving them the option to consider alternate systems, which are significantly more expensive for employees than premium-based state plans.
Other DOL Report Findings
Changes to the Workers’ Compensation system have resulted in the following:
- Employees have been discouraged from filing claims
- Previously covered claims have been denied
- Reduced cash benefits for injured workers
- Restrictions on the medical care that injured employees can receive
Federal Oversight May Be Needed
The DOL report shows that the federal government has had to cover many of these costs in the form of Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Medicare. As a result, certain employers are less likely to address workplace hazards and make changes that could prevent injuries and illnesses.
The report also encourages more federal oversight of Workers’ Compensation programs. In addition to appointing a national commission, the federal government could track state laws and establish minimum standards that states must meet, as well as enforce penalties if they fail to meet them.
Employers and insurance companies expressed concern over how this would work. According to Douglas Holmes, president of lobby group that focuses on Workers’ Compensation, states have regulated their Workers’ Compensation programs for more than 100 years without federal oversight. Federally imposed requirements would not be consistent with the state Workers’ Compensation system.
However, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez considers the report to be an alarm bell, one that shines a light on a safety net that is being attacked because there are currently no federal standards for Workers’ Compensation.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work in Maryland and your employer’s Workers’ Compensation plan is not providing adequate coverage, we understand the financial burden this can impose on you and your family. Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side and we will fight hard to obtain the benefits you deserve so that you can focus on recovering from your injury. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.