For the past several years, business and insurance groups have sought to persuade the Workers’ Compensation Board to cut benefits for injuries that result in permanent loss or loss of use of a limb. These are known as “schedule loss awards,” and apply in cases such as limb amputation, fracture, surgery, loss of vision and hearing, and other permanent damage.
The cuts sought by business are in addition to the major benefit cuts it obtained in the 2007 reforms by imposing time limits on permanent partial disability benefits. Those cuts were estimated to save employers $1 billion. In exchange for savings, business agreed to increase benefits for temporary disability and schedule loss. Through lobbying, the media, and proposed legislation, business now seeks to renege on that exchange.
The WCA paper outlines the costs associated with schedule loss of use awards over the past twenty-five years, and demonstrates that there is no economic justification for further reduction in benefits for injured workers.
The paper is available here.
 Workers’ Compensation Board Subject Number 046-548, 5/28/13; http://www.Wcb.ny.gov/content/main/SubjectNos/sn046_548.jsp