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Workers' compensation benefits falling

Workers who suffer work-related injuries face a double whammy: not only do they have medical bills to pay, but they are hurt and cannot work. To solve this problem, New York offers workers' compensation, a system by which workers receive money to help them recover from on-the-job injuries. The system covers medical bills plus just enough extra to make ends meet.

But the funds to pay for the workers' compensation system do not appear like magic. The funds exist because the state requires employers to provide them. And that means the state can allow those funds to be reduced or even cut.

Across the country, that's exactly what has been happening. In the last decade, more than 60 percent of states have reduced benefits, tightened eligibility requirements or imposed new obstacles that make it harder to get workers' compensation benefits.

New York is among that group. New York reduced benefits in 2002, in 2008 and again in 2014.

What do the reductions mean for New Yorkers? It means that the pie is too small for New Yorkers to be careless with their workers' compensation claim. They need to take the right steps to make the most of their dwindling benefits.

But maximizing benefits can be tough. A New Yorker needs to learn how to navigate the workers' compensation system at an inopportune time: right after they have been hurt in an accident. That is a time to focus on getting better, not on how to file the right paperwork to the right place with the right information.

To learn more about how that process works and how to navigate it, New Yorkers may benefit from speaking with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: ProPublica, "Workers' compensation reforms by state," Yue Qiu and Michael Grabell, Accessed on April 28, 2015

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