North Carolina Bill Would Cap Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Retirement

May 16, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, the House is considering a bill that would cap workers’ compensation payments for senior workers. The cap would go into effect less than six years (that’s 300 weeks) after a worker turns 65 or becomes eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits. That is, unless the worker asks a state commission to provide lifetime benefits.

The proposal seeks to only place a cap on North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits for retirees with temporary disabilities and not retired workers with permanent disabilities. The Senate Commerce Committee is looking at S 975, a companion bill.

While supporters of the bill believe that the workers’ compensation cap would allow North Carolina to become more competitive with other states that already have such caps, as well as decrease fraudulent workers’ compensation claims, opponents of the bill are worried that this could cause injured elderly workers to struggle during their retirement. The NC Advocates for Justice as well as AARP North Carolina don’t approve of the bill, and the latter group has expressed concern over the financial and medical challenges a retired, injured worker might face if he or she solely had to rely on Social Security benefits.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation
If you are a North Carolina worker who was injured on the job, you should report the injury incident as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after it happened. Make sure that you issue your report in writing so that you’ve documented the details of the incident, as well as your notice to your employer.

As an injured North Carolina worker eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you are entitled to receive coverage for medical treatments that are required to heal your injury, help you recover from your disability, or, at the very least, allow you to be as physically comfortable as possible while living with your injury or disability. You are also entitled to temporary partial disability benefits or total disability benefits if your work injury requires you to miss more than seven days of work.

If your injures warrant permanent partial disability or total disability status, you are also eligible for certain benefits. The body part that was injured and your average weekly income will be factors in calculating these benefits. In certain instances, your employer’s insurer may try to work out a settlement with you, which would prevent you from seeking additional workers’ compensation in the future.

The best way to make sure that you receive all of the North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits that your injuries warrant and that you are owed is to consult with an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm about your work injury case.

Lawmakers back workers’ compensation limit, Citizen-Times, May 13, 2009

North Carolina Considers Cap on Workers’ Compensation for Retirees, Claims Journal, May 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Industrial Commission

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


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