Today's post is shared from buffalonews.com and is authored by Jeffrey Fenster, Executive Director of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo inherited a century-old workers’ compensation system in extreme dysfunction, caused by years of neglect and special interest lobbying. Independent research, such as studies by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, shows that compared to other states, New York’s system is slow to pay injured workers and produces poor medical outcomes.
It is undisputed that prompt delivery of benefits is good for injured workers and reduces employer costs. Yet those most in need receive least, our workers wait longer for benefits and our costs to employers are the fifth highest in the nation. Things needed to change.
Already, under Cuomo’s administration, the Workers’ Compensation Board has been aggressive in improving the system. We fully implemented and continue improving upon the 2007 reform. That was followed by an increase in the minimum benefit from $100 to $150, protecting New York’s most vulnerable employees.
Simultaneously, the board tackled the high and rising cost of workers’ compensation assessments on employers. In March 2013, Cuomo signed the Business Relief Act, which included $800 million in assessment savings to employers in 2014 – a drop from 18.8 percent to 13.8 percent of premium. Ensuing years will see assessment savings of $300...