A “race to the bottom” for workers’ compensation systems?

The Department of Labor (DOL) has noticed a disturbing trend among state governments, a “race to the bottom” for workers’ compensation benefits and coverage. This recent trend has shocked the agency so much that it is calling for funds to launch a study into the effects of this trend and the federal government’s role in it. The DOL is asking for installing minimum federal benefits to stave off this trend and ensure that workers are adequately protected.

The DOL cited that over the past few decades, states across the country have enacted a series of laws and procedures that limit benefits and reduce the likelihood that claims will be approved. The DOL noted denied procedures and prosthetics, even when they were recommended by doctors. The DOL also noted an increase in denied claims and families going without income.

The DOL also wants a review of the 1972 Commission established by the Nixon Administration which set minimum recommendations for workers’ compensation coverage. The DOL would like that Commission reinstated with authority to bind states to a new set of minimum federal benefits.

The DOL also noted that these inadequate benefits often pushed workers and their families onto federal programs. Unless states adopt better standards, this leaves taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars as families need to make up the shortfall in coverage.

If you were injured due to an unsafe working condition, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Your benefits may be the only source of income for a while for your family. You don’t want to risk your benefits to a frivolously denied claim due to a paperwork error; a lawyer can help ensure that all your t’s are crossed, and i’s are dotted to keep you on the path toward receiving benefits.

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