Oklahoma is a workers’ compensation opt-out state. This means that employers can choose to not be a part of the state’s workers’ comp system if they come up with an internal compensation system that meets federal standards. However, some employers are taking advantage of the system, and it could be hurting your Social Security Disability Insurance.
Why SSDI Shouldn’t Be The Solution To Bad Workers Comp Laws
A 54-year-old man working as a building engineer for Macy’s was struck by a mannequin that fell from a shelf 12 feet high. The collision caused the man’s head to ricochet into another shelf and then into the cement floor. The accident caused a traumatic brain injury that has left this engineer with headaches, disorientation, memory loss, light sensitivity, and slurred motor functions. Yet, he was denied workers’ compensation benefits from Macy’s private system.
Why Was This Accident Victim Denied Workers’ Comp?
Macy’s accused the 54-year-old building engineer of faking his injuries and staging the accident. Macy’s also sent him to a medical specialist who sided with the company and offered him no benefits. The engineer was forced to seek treatment using his own money. He lost his house and pickup truck, but proved that his injury was real. He tried to take his new evidence to court, but the Macy’s workers’ compensation program has a forced arbitration clause that forced the case out of court and into the biased arbitration system.
How Does This Bad System Affect SSDI?
This engineer eventually won the arbitration, but the amount he received was so small that there was barely anything left after paying arbitration costs, legal fees, and his medical bills. He couldn’t live on the remaining settlement and so this man had to rely on the Social Security system to fill in for his living expenses. He says that he wouldn’t be able to survive without his SSDI benefits.
Workplace injury victims that should be taken care of by the workers’ compensation system are losing their benefits to bad laws and forced arbitration clauses. This is causing extra stress on the Social Security system, and we have got to do something about it. Let your government representatives know about this problem, and help us make the SSDI system last for future generations.