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New York State Budget Includes Workers’ Compensation Reforms

When the New York State Senate passed its $153 billion budget in April, it included reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation system.  

The goal of the reforms is to make it more affordable to do business in New York by providing employers with rebates and annual savings in premium costs.  

The reforms also ensure severely injured workers have the right to be considered for lifetime benefits.  Additionally, they provide relief for first responders exposed to traumatic events at work and create a formulary for prescription drugs.

Furthermore, the budget creates a two-and-a-half-year period for temporary claim benefits.  If the injured worker can prove a continued need for benefits, he or she can apply for an extension through the Workers’ Compensation Board.  

The budget also increases eligibility for extended permanent benefits for workers determined to be 75 percent injured; currently, these benefits are only for workers determined to be 80 percent injured.

Lastly, the Workers’ Compensation Board must issue new medical impairment guidelines by the end of the year to reflect advances in modern medicine that increase better outcomes and healing for patients.