Bolstered by a united chorus of favorable comments at recent NJ Legislative hearings, the transition team of NJ Governor Christie has urged opposition to any new benefit increases for workers' compensation. The hearings were in response to a series on investigative articles that appeared in The Star Ledger alleging problems existed in the present system.
The transition team has made the following recommendations:
Oppose A-5181 (Egan, Evans) / S-639 (Sarlo, Gill): Increases workers' compensation for loss of hand or foot.
Impact: $20 - $25 million in increased costs to the system.
Oppose A-2846 (Greenstein, DeAngelo) / S-785 (Sweeney, Madden): Extends supplemental disability and dependent benefits for post-1979 claims.
Impact: These added benefits would be paid entirely by employers through an increased surcharge in their Workers' Compensation policy. An analysis by the Office of Special Compensation Funds within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects the annual cost to New Jersey employers at $125 million with the potential to be significantly higher if this law change caused New Jersey to lose its "reverse offset" benefit from the Social Security Administration.
Oppose S-1982 (Sweeney): Establishes an ombudsman for injured workers in, but not of, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Impact: This would create an entirely new department within the State government with its incumbent salary and administrative costs. This would also duplicate many of the responsibilities now handled effectively by the Division of Workers' Compensation.
Click here to read more about workers' compensation reform efforts.