In an earlier blog post, we covered new Workers' Compensation legislation that was being introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo for the state of New York, and how that legislation was intended to resolve outstanding claims and to save employers money. In this post, we will be covering a few of the highlights of that business relief bill and some of the actual reforms being made.
- One of the first actions is the elimination of the Special Funds Conservation Committee, which was originally established back in 1938 with the intention of maintaining certain funds including the Special Disability Fund.
- The minimum rate for accidents occurring on or after May 1st, 2013 will increase to $150.00 per week, without indexing.
- The bill also recommends a 30 day limit when filling for a discretionary Full Board Review, however while that change would affect New York Code, Article 2, Section 23, this change does not appear to affect the applications of Section 123: Jurisdiction of board to be continuing.
- According to Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), Article 75, current case law limits the court to the standards of arbitration decisions. The new bill would allow for a standard review for any alternative dispute resolution (ADR) decision in the Third Department. This means reviews would be treated the same as appeals submitted from the Workers' Compensation Board to the court, therefore, the court would be able to overrule an ADR decision should there be a misinterpretation of the law.
- Although the Workers' Compensation Board will still be able to make decisions on any outstanding transfer of liability requests under Section 25-a after January 1st, 2014, no new transfer of liability requests will be accepted after that date. In addition, the Chair is charged with issuing regulations on how any existing Section 25-a claims will be administered and by whom.
- Mandatory deposits into the Aggregate Trust Fund are repealed. Any outstanding cases which direct deposits to be made into the fund will remain valid. Late payments, however, will result in a 20% penalty payable to the assigned claimant. According to the information available, these penalties are in addition to the current late deposit penalties laid out in Section 27.
- The bill makes clear that a failure to pay assessments will be an approved, and allowable, reason to cancel an employer's workers' compensation policy.
- Volunteer Firefighter and Ambulance Worker Laws will be amended to reflect marriage equality.
These changes, of course, are primarily directed towards New York businesses and employers. It is unlikely that anyone who is injured on the job and files for workers' compensation will notice these changes, other than having easier access to benefits in the long run. The firm of Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund works diligently to stay abreast of all workers' compensation changes that may affect their current or future clients though. That is because, for decades the focus of the firm has been on helping clients receive the compensation they rightfully deserve from all types of job-related injury claims in workers' compensation cases.
Reach out to ourNew York workers' compensation attorney at Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund in all types of workers' comp cases.