New Laws And Procedures To Strengthen Maine And Chicago Workers’ Compensation
The new law will increase the maximum weekly benefits by 25% and will adjust for fully disabled workers. The new law does compromise on the 500-week limit on death benefits, which the original proposal suggested removing.
The burden of proof for psychological trauma remains the same despite efforts to adjust the portion of the law. Democratic members helped push some of the changes through. Republican members of the Labor and Housing Committee were aiming for no changes to be made to the current workers' compensation laws.
Democrats were able to get Republicans to concede when they threatened to pass even more extensive reforms unless a compromise was met. Chicago also announced that the city will take measures to overhaul the workers' compensation program in the city. Workers' compensation will change under a partnership with Gallagher Bassett after an independent audit found that reforms were needed under the current system.
Reforms will improve the service rendered to workers, prevent waste, abuse, and fraud, too. The audit found that the city has widespread deficiencies, primarily linked to a lack of clear policies, fraud controls and lack of training for administrators. The city is working with a third-party that will help address the issues to improve controls, oversight and claim handling, too.
Gallagher Bassett's team will work with the city to bring about much-needed reforms. Workers' compensation program costs swelled to $93 million in 2018. "In Illinois, when you become injured or ill while performing your job duties, you are entitled to compensation to help cover the costs that unsafe work conditions and other work-related incidents cause.
The laws of the state govern your rights when you are injured at work," explains DePaolo & Zadeikis. Grant Thorton conducted an independent audit of the workers' compensation program in 2019. The firm conducted an audit on 100 claims between 2017 and 2018, and dozens of interviews were also conducted. The audit found that the city lacked an adequate workforce and also didn't follow or meet industry best practices.
Outstanding claims will be transferred using a phased approach that will ensure that claims are not delayed or impacted while Chicago begins transitioning claims management and processing.