Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) today announced an agreement on reforming New York's workers' compensation system. There has been no significant change to the program or to the maximum benefit level since 1992.
“As I traveled around the state with the Assembly Minority Small Business Task Force, I had the opportunity to talk to local business owners and I found that one of their major concerns was the state's workers' compensation system,” remarked Bill Reilich. “By reforming workers' compensation, we can improve New York's business climate and help local business in Monroe County.”
New York has the second-highest workers' compensation cost per case nationally and ranks 48th among the 50 states in benefit levels. Workers' compensation costs are forcing companies and jobs to leave our state.
For years, the Assembly Minority Conference has been advocating cost-saving measures to help businesses and provide a benefit increase that will improve the quality of life for injured workers. Today, this has come to fruition:
- Provides cost savings to businesses by capping permanent partial disability benefits while continuing medical care, and establishing a safety net to assist injured workers' return to employment and intervene during cases of severe destitution
- Increases the current maximum weekly benefit rate for injured workers from $400 to $500, and then increases it over a period of four years to two-thirds of the state's average weekly wage
- Annually indexes the benefit for injured workers to provide further increases to counter the effect of inflation and increased cost-of-living
- Develops fact-based medical guidelines to determine degree of impairment
- Expedites the hearing process for claims to ensure fast delivery of compensation and treatment to injured workers encouraging their speedy recovery and return to the workforce
- Closes the outdated and costly Second Injury Fund
- Increases penalties for workers' compensation insurance fraud
- Creates transparency in the workers' compensation system by improving collection of data on premiums and losses.
Assemblyman Reilich believes that today's agreement is a step toward improving Monroe County's economic climate.