Workers’ Compensation Reform 2017

There is change afoot for Workers’ Compensation this year. On April 10th, 2017 the 2017-2018 Executive Budget was passed by the New York State Senate. The budget included workers’ compensation reforms intended to generate savings for employers and provide better protection for injured workers. At Erwin, McCane and Daly we make it our mission to stay informed and on top of the laws impacting the compensation our clients may be able to receive. Here you will find a recap of The Workers’ Compensation Reform from the 2017-2018 NYS Budget.

Caps on Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

With regard to Permanent Partial Disability, the period of permanent disability, which counts against the cap, will start no later than 130 weeks from the date of accident. The Board may extend it if it is shown that a claimant has not yet reached maximum medical improvement.

There will also be changes to the Post-PPD Labor Market Attachment which will no longer require claimants entitled to benefits at the time of classification to demonstrate ongoing market attachment. The Extreme Hardship Determination Threshold has been lowered to allow claimants who have been found to have a loss of wage earning capacity (LWEC) over 75% to apply for extreme hardship determination. Additionally, when a LWEC finding had been determined by a WCLJ to exceed the safety threshold and is then reduced below the threshold by a Board Panel, any request for Full Board Review will now be considered Mandatory; effective immediately.

Permanent Impairment Guidelines

By January 1, 2018 New Impairment Guidelines will be adopted by the Workers’ Compensation Board to incorporate advances in medicine for injured workers to use in evaluations. Get more information about Impairment Guidelines

Drug Formulary

By December 31, 2017 the Workers’ Compensation Board is required to have a comprehensive pharmacy prescription drug formulary, listing drugs which may be prescribed for causally-related condition. Additionally, there will be a new way to request additional prescription drugs to be added to the preferred drug list.

45-Day Hearing

Effective immediately; in the case of an evidenced work-related disability where the claimant is not working, receiving benefits and the claim is not controverted, a hearing can be requested and must be held within 45 days of the receipt of request.

First Responder Stress Claims

First responders who file a mental injury claim due to extraordinary stress in work-related emergency cannot be disallowed compensable claims because the stress is found not to be greater than that of which normally occurs in the work environment.

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