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Should the federal government have more oversight in state workers' compensation laws?

Few people who work for a living believe that the workers' compensation program provides enough benefits. Yet year after year, many states are reducing the compensation available to injured workers and making the process increasingly difficult.

However, the federal government might be stepping in to help make sure injured workers get the help they need. Traditionally, workers' compensation has been handled by the individual states, but it looks like this could be changing in the near future.

Is There Anything Being Done to Help Injured Workers?

According to a NPR news story, the Labor Department issued a new report on changes to state workers' compensation laws. The report was a response to a letter written from 10 prominent Democratic lawmakers urging action from the Labor Department to protect workers who have suffered injuries.

The Labor Department's report calls for the exploration of a greater degree of federal control over the state run programs, and claims the changes many states have enacted to their workers' compensation programs have resulted in "the failure of state workers' compensation systems to provide [injured workers] with adequate benefits."

Some of the specific changes the report mentions include:

  • Limiting benefits
  • Reducing the likelihood of injured workers successfully completing the application process to receive benefits
  • Discouraging injured workers from applying to receive benefits

Whether actual action is taken at the federal level is unclear at this point, but the report is encouraging. With an agency like the Labor Department taking notice, the hope is that federal lawmakers will take some action to ensure that injured workers receive the benefits they need.

In the meantime, the best course of action for injured workers is to work with an experienced attorney who can help them through the process to receive the best compensation package possible.

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