According to National Public Radio, a stark new federal report urges federal oversight of state workers’ compensation programs, because new laws created at the urging of insurance companies and employers strip employees of benefits they need desperately when they get hurt on the job.
The report by the United States Department of Labor arose from a request by prominent Democratic lawmakers urging more protections for hurt workers after a ProPublica/National Public Radio news series on hurt employees “who lost their homes, were denied surgeries or were even denied prosthetic devices recommended by their doctors.” The report describes the state of workers’ compensation laws as a “race to the bottom.”
And guess who’s at the bottom, getting stepped on: you. Whose foot hangs above your head, ready to crush you? Big business and insurance companies. Big business gloats about lower workers’ comp insurance rates. And insurance companies are making it rain with historic profits, all at the expense of injured workers.
A Few Big Winners at Your Expense
Here’s a shocking comment from the report about you: “Working people are at great risk of falling into poverty.”
The report also reveals a hidden cost of these “reforms” paid by—wait for it—you. It describes taxpayers bearing the burden of workplace injury costs when comp benefits can’t fill the gap, forcing workers to resort to Medicare and Social Security for treatment and lost income. The report cites the cost in the billions.
A Stern Call To Action From Both Sides
The report calls for federal intervention to address state benefit inadequacies.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez bluntly declares the lack of minimum federal standards for workers’ comp benefits “is really putting workers who are hurt on the job on a pathway to poverty.”
Spokesgroups for employers and insurance companies condemned the report. Imagine that. They’d be forced to pay for adequate medical care and lost income for people who get hurt while helping them make millions, or even billions. One group shrieked there’s never been federal oversight of state comp programs. I offer this for thought: at one point, there wasn’t federal oversight over state elections either—until certain states worked awful hard to keep certain people from exercising their rights. So the feds stepped in and put an end to that.
Wait before holding your breath for congressional action. The news article warns of “stiff resistance” from anti-employee groups. Coupled with congressional log jams, we should probably not expect anything soon, if ever.
Don’t Get Stepped On. A Workers Compensation Attorney Can Help.
If you’ve gotten hurt at work, you may already be shortchanged by state law. That doesn’t mean you have to get totally crushed. To protect your rights and maximize your potential compensation for the injury you sustained making an honest living, start a live chat with us right now. Let us show you how we can help keep your employer and its insurance company honest in providing you the benefits you need.