New Reports Indicate Concerning Trends For Workers In Need Of Workers’ Comp
The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) recently released its report concerning trends for workers, noting three particular workers’ compensation trends that are troubling for those who get injured or ill in the workplace, as we discuss below.
Changes at State Level
Total benefits paid decreased in 40 states. While COVID was a factor, others include changes that states are making to workers’ compensation policies and laws. According to reports, a number of states have already cut benefits for injured workers and/or made it more difficult for them to qualify for benefits. As a result, the US Department of Labor found that workers and their families were at “great risk of falling into poverty,” should they be injured on the job. The National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws have called it a “race to the bottom” in terms of finding more and more opportunities to cut adequate and equitable support for all injured and sick workers.
Some states are even starting to look into making workers’ compensation optional versus mandatory for employers – a very disturbing prospect. Thus far, these states have included Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming, however, this trend must be monitored, as states often follow in each others’ footsteps.
Status of Workers’ Comp in Georgia
Fortunately, not only does Georgia law require business owners with at least three or more employees to have workers’ compensation, but Georgia’s changes actually increased maximum Permanent Partial Disability, Temporary Partial Disability and Temporary Total Disability payments, and, as a result, the maximum benefit payable to surviving spouses without other dependents increased as well. This is irregardless of whether employee are part- or full-time, but with the following exceptions:
- Domestic workers
- Farm workers
- Railroad carriers
- S. government agencies
Sadly, COVID essentially wiped out all progress concerning the number of workers covered by workers’ compensation: 2020 reflected the largest decrease in covered jobs in a single year since NASI began compiling the report 20 years ago. In addition, a striking number of workers also continue to be misclassified as independent contractors and therefore lack the basic workers’ compensation protection they are due.
Macon, Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workers’ compensation becoming more and more difficult to obtain, and states looking to cut back even further, makes working with a workers’ compensation attorney on your claim arguably essential. These benefits not only help to cover disability-related costs, but also missed wages, care, death benefits, and repetitive stress injuries, where relevant. Contact our office today to find out how our Macon workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Buzzell, Welsh & Hill can help you recover what you need for you and your family.