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Increases in New York workers' comp costs threaten system

As this blog has mentioned in the past, New York workers have the right to be compensated for their injuries if they are involved in a workplace injury. This compensation falls under workers' compensation benefits. These benefits include payments for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

An injured worker is entitled to these benefits regardless whether they work in the private sector or for the local, state or federal government. In other words, government employees, even those who work for the state of New York or a local municipality, have a right to be compensated when they are injured at work.

Recently, a study has shown that the cost of workers' compensation has increased for many New York municipalities despite reforms that were supposed to curtail costs. This study surveyed more than 150 municipalities, cities, schools, libraries and other public employers.

Of the employers surveyed, 78 percent of them claim that their workers' compensation costs have risen since the reforms in 2007. A 20.2 percent increase in state surcharges is partly to blame for the increasing cost.

Also, a recent law caps the amount of money these municipalities are able to bring in to keep up with rising costs. Under this new law, there is now a 2 percent cap on property tax revenue increases, which limits the amount of money brought in to help pay for workers' compensation.

The Workers' Compensation Policy Institute says that this system will not be sustainable. If these predictions are true, changes must be made. New York government employees deserve to have the protections of workers' compensation after suffering a workplace injury.

Source: Business Insurance, "New York workers compensation costs rise despite reforms: Report," Roberto Ceniceros, April 25, 2012

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