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California Debates Expansion in Workers’ Comp Benefits

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California is considering a new bill that would expand the cap on injured workers’ temporary disability payments.  While this move is a logical expenditure to provide protection to the state’s workers and to keep in step with the ever expanding cost of health care, predictably California businesses are lining up to denounce the bill.

Assemblyman Jose Solorio put forward Assembly Bill 947 that caps disability payment for an injury at almost five years beginning January 1, 2012.  Since 2004, the last time there was a major overhaul of the workers’ comp system, the cap for payments has been at two years.

Opponents argue the bill could cost the California workers’ compensation system an additional $200 to $210 a year. Thomas Wu, policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce that “Workers’ compensation costs per claim have increased b 60 percent in recent years, driven partly by grown in TD benefit payments.” Further, he added “Workers’ compensation claims already take loner to resolve in California and our system is more expensive than other states, a problem that will grow worse under this bill.  In fact, even the state Department of Finance moved to block the bill based upon the financial impact to the state.

However, for labor rights activists, the Bill is merely a corrective to workers’ comp reforms that enacted deep cuts in benefits for workers.  Supporters note the bill is limited to extensions for inured workers who require extra time to reach “maximum medical improvement.”  Also, extensions are only available for workers who did not delay in receiving medical treatment.

This controversy is characteristic of others across the country as the recession increasingly forces cuts in lawfully mandated workers’ compensation.  If you are an injured worker unsure of your rights, be sure to contact a Washington Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Emery Reddy today.


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