According to a report from the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), employees who suffer injuries on the job are receiving fewer benefits through workers’ compensation even though their employers are paying more to cover the cost of their claims. The report, published earlier this year, examined data from 2009 through 2013.
For employees, this is obviously cause for concern. It is also all the more reason to make sure that you follow the rules when you file for workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Down Five Percent
NASI’s data show that injured workers in 2013 received just 95 percent of the benefits that they would have received in 2009. Overall, workers’ compensation benefits as a share of payroll in 2013 were lower than almost any other period in the last 30 years. At the same time, employers are paying more – an average of five percent more – to cover the costs of paying their injured employees’ claims.
What is contributing to the reduction in workers’ compensation benefits? NASI points to a number of factors.
● More covered employees. As we bounce back from the Recession, America’s workforce is growing. This means that employers have to provide (and pay for) coverage for more employees.
● The rising cost of healthcare. As injured workers’ medical bills continue to skyrocket, employers and insurance companies are looking for new ways to compensate for the increased costs of occupational illnesses and injuries.
● Unfavorable state laws. From 2003 to 2013, 33 states across the country revised their workers’ compensation laws to weaken the protections afforded to employees. Changes have included more-stringent rules for filing claims, reduction in coverage for certain medical conditions, and addition of new requirements that make it more difficult for workers to receive compensation for valid claims.
Employees Now Pay 50 Percent of the Cost of Work-Related Injuries
The Washington Post reports that employees are now paying as much as 50 percent of the cost of work-related injuries. This is separate from the 13 percent covered by private health insurance. Workers’ compensation now covers just 21 percent of the cost of workplace injuries, with the balance being covered by various state and federal government programs. One of these programs is Social Security Disability Insurance, which has seen a steady increase in payments as employers’ contributions have declined.
Claiming the Benefits You Deserve
With employers getting in the habit of paying less, it is more important now than ever that you aggressively pursue the benefits you are owed if you suffer a workplace injury. New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system can be difficult to navigate, but it provides benefits to those who are entitled. If you have suffered a workplace injury, it is in your best interests to hire an experienced attorney to help you process your claim.
Petro Cohen, P.C. | Atlantic City Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. have decades of experience helping injured New Jersey workers claim the benefits they deserve. For more information about what we can do to help, please contact us today.