Senate Bill Could Cut Workers Comp

Senate Bill Could Cut Workers Comp for All Federal Employees

workers compA bill currently in the US Senate proposes several changes to cut the costs of the US Postal Service, which lost $5 billion in the 2013 fiscal year. However, the bill makes some subtle proposal changes to the federal workers comp legislation, which could effect more than just postal service employees.

The proposed bill, which has already been approved by Homeland Security and the Governmental Affairs Committee, proposes to cut some payments made through Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), which is the federal legislation establishing workers comp.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said she “strongly opposes . . . unwarranted cuts in FECA benefits for injured federal workers who are either older or have family obligations. Under this bill, injured workers would have their FECA benefits reduced by one-third to one-quarter when they reach the retirement age for Social Security.”

A committee aide, however, said that there are some balances in the bill, including clauses to help injured workers on workers comp get back on the job. The aide added that there were no changes to payments for permanently injured workers, or workers 65 and older.

Opposition from workers comp advocates has not stopped the bill from passing the committee with a 9-1 vote in February, and the full Senate voted 62-37 on the same measure two years ago. The vote in 2012 made sweeping changes to workers comp, although many workers would not see the changes for three years. The intention behind the changes was to return injured workers to work faster.

The one dissenting vote came from Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), who stated that the bill  “includes sweeping changes to the federal workers compensation program, even though the committee has yet to hold a single hearing on the issue.”

Workers Comp in South Carolina

Any full-time employee (working for an employer with four or more employees) who has an employment related injury and needs medical attention should be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if the injury was a complete accident or the fault of a co-worker.

South Carolina does not award workers compensation to workers who are intoxicated on the job. This accusation could be used as “employer retaliation,” however, and the claim is difficult to prove. Just because your employer, or your employer’s insurance company, denies your workers’ compensation claim does not mean that they are right to deny your workers’ comp benefits.

If the employer is using a legal reason to deny workers’ comp, you need to determine if the reason is valid, or if it is a false accusation against you (such as a work injury due to intoxication). Your employer also may not want to accept your work injury, especially if your injury is difficult to prove and requires you to seek legal assistance. Some job-related injuries employers may initially deny are from repetitive injuries, stress, mental conditions, and environmental conditions such as claims of toxic exposure.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina

The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case.803.252.4800.