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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Setoff Nightmare: The Pension Well Runs Dry

Over the past decades of reform, legislatures throughout the United States have established rules and regulations to offset pensions from workers' compensation benefits chasing off potential claims. Now faced with economic stress, public entities are following the path of private companies, and about to default on pension payments.


The NY Times reports today that a town in Rhode Island has asked 19,000 pension beneficiaries to forgo their pension benefits. The program is called, "The Big Ask."


The consequences are severe. The claimants who failed to file for workers' compensation benefits because they were scarred off by potential bankruptcy setoffs from their workers' compensation awards, and now being left out in the cold. Injured workers are now barred by the statute of limitations from collection compensation. 


Legislatures must consider this adverse consequence. Modifications in State laws are now required to protect workers from this contingency. Laws should be modified to permit a tolling of the statute of limitations so that workers in the future will not be asking why their rights for workers' compensation benefits were stolen.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.