According to the Associated Press, Oklahoma may have new workers’ compensation laws soon, as Senate Bill 1062, which requires Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature to become law, awaits approval. SB 1062 places limits on workers’ compensation benefits and is considered a step backwards by disability and labor advocates.
According to the AP, SB 1062 will:
- Change the state’s court system and replace it with an administrative one beginning Feb. 1, 2014, with three appointed commissioners instead of 10 judges.
- Require compensation to employees who suffer temporary disability to be capped at 70 percent of the state average weekly wage, or about $540 per week, and award payments for 104 weeks instead of 156.
- Compensate employees who suffer permanent disability while on the job to be capped at $343 per week for a total of 350 weeks instead of 520.
- Allow employees to make a one-time change to a treating physician, but the doctor must selected from a list provided by the employer.
- Allow employers to require employees to settle claims and disputes through arbitration.
If signed into law, this would be unfortunate for workers who suffer from on-the-job injuries. As we told you last year, if you receive both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and workers’ compensation, you may be able to structure your workers’ compensation payments to minimize the impact that the benefits will have on your SSDI benefits.
Often, rather than paying workers’ compensation, a company will offer a worker a one-time settlement to close a case. If an injured worker accepts a settlement, it may have an impact on how the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a payout for SSDI claims. By working with an experienced attorney, you can avoid the negative financial consequences with workers’ compensation lump-sum payouts by constructing an agreement that specifies how to treat the payment.
If you or a loved one has questions about disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers