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Workers' compensation to improve for disabled in New Jersey

If you live in New Jersey, you may be pleased to know that the New Jersey Senate has now approved cost-of-living increases to workers' compensation benefits. This is good, because now, when people miss work due to injuries, their needs in day-to-day life will be considered. If you're injured at your job, then you have a right to have the money to take care of yourself, and it seems that New Jersey's Senate agrees with that sentiment.

A report updated on June 13 described the senate's decision to pass a bill that adds cost-of-living increase to some types of workers' compensation payments. The bill had previously been opposed by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, because it claimed the state's private employers would have to make up the costs of the payouts. It is expected to cost businesses $58 million each year.

The bill was passed 21 to 15. Under this bill, people who have been permanently and totally disabled by work injuries after 1980 will receive a cost-of-living adjustment to their payouts each year once they turn 65. These increases will start in July 2015, according to the bill. The adjustments are meant to be paid by a surcharge to private employers on top of the premiums the companies already pay for workers' compensation.

It's been argued that this puts an unwanted burden on private-sector employers who are already struggling to pay premiums for workers' compensation. In fact, the cost-of-living adjustments won't only apply to the workers, but all beneficiaries who benefit from the workers' compensation payments for disability. In 2011, the latest data released, it was reported that around 35,000 New Jersey workers had filed workers' compensation claims. There is no word on how many of those claims included claims for total disability. With total disability cases, workers are only currently entitled to 70 percent of their wages up to $843.

Source: North Jersey, "NJ Senate OKs cost-of-living increases to workers' comp," June 12, 2014.

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