• Reduces the amount of time for which an employee can receive payments for wage loss suffered as a result of returning to employment other than his former position of employment or for being unable to find employment consistent with his physical capabilities. Currently 400 weeks, but the Legislature wants to reduce it to 225 weeks.
• Eliminated the Right to Argue Additional Factors for Permanent Total Disability Benefits
• Specifies an employee is not entitled to permanent total impairment compensation when the employee's age is the primary reason he is prevented from engaging in or acquiring the capacity to engage in sustained remunerative employment.
• Eliminated The Right to Receive Temporary Total Disability compensation Until the Date of Termination Hearing
• Now allows a district hearing officer to terminate compensation for temporary total disability if compensation has been paid prior to the hearing officer determining whether the claimant has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and the hearing officer subsequently determines that the claimant has reached MMI. Specifies that the district hearing officer may terminate the temporary total disability compensation as of a date prior to the hearing in which the hearing officer determined the claimant reached MMI, and requires the hearing officer to declare any payment made after that date as an overpayment to be recovered as specified in new law. (Currently TTD is terminated on the date of the hearing, not before)
• Eliminated Current Benefits which pay the loss of the hand AND loss of arm if an arm is amputated
• Eliminated Current Benefits which pay the loss of the for Loss of Foot if a Leg is amputated
• Eliminated compensation by specifying that the loss or loss of use of one arm does not additionally constitute the loss or loss of use of one hand and that the loss or loss of use of one leg does not additionally constitute the loss or loss of use of one foot. (Currently you would get compensation for both loses. Legislature wants to take this right away from the injured worker).
• Eliminated Current Benefits for Deceased Worker's Family
• Now prohibits the Administrator of Workers' Compensation (Administrator) from making an award to a deceased employee's spouse or a dependent for the employee's loss of use of a body part when no award was given prior to the employee's death unless the Administrator receives medical evidence that the employee had a conscious awareness of the loss of use prior to death. (Prior Law permitted the award to be paid. The Legislature took this right away from the injured worker's family).
• Reduced Benefits in the Payment Amount of Living Maintenance Awards
• Modifies living maintenance payments to be equal to the amount of temporary total benefits the claimant would receive if the claimant received those benefits. (Previously, Vocational Rehabilitation Living Maintenance payments were greater to give an incentive to the Injured Worker to enter a rehabilitation program)
• Reduced Current Benefit Coverage under the Workers' Compensation Law From Ten (10) Years to a Maximum of Four (4 ) Years. BWC Claims will be closed much sooner under the new law.
• Reduces the ability of the Industrial Commission from taking continuing jurisdiction to make a modification, change, finding, or award from six years in the absence of the payment of medical benefits and ten years in the absence of payment of compensation to a four-year limit in those cases.
• Changed the Prior Definition of an Ohio Work Injury
• Places limitations upon compensation and medical benefits for a condition, impairment, or disease process that preexisted an injury and requires documented objective clinical findings and test results concerning substantial worsening and acceleration relative to such claims. (Prior Law permitted the inclusion of an aggravation of a pre-existing condition to be compensable in a workers' comp claim - even if the aggravation was NOT substantial. Legislature has taken this major benefit away from Ohio's Injured Workers.
• These changes have significantly harmed the rights and benefits of Ohio's Injured Workers!
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
WE CAN TELL OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT WE WANT THEM TO REPRESENT US AND PUT THE BWC LAW BACK THE WAY IT WAS! CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR - FIND OUT WHO THEY ARE AND TELL THEM YOU TO GIVE BACK OUR BENEFITS.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ELECTED LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE
COMPLAIN. TELL HIM/HER THAT YOU WANT THE PRIOR BWC LAWS TO BE BROUGHT BACK. THE PRIOR OHIO BWC LAWS WERE THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY.
WHY DID THEY NEED TO FIX SOMETHING THAT WASN'T BROKE???
Ohio Work Comp was already the Best in the Nation.
FIND OUT WHO THE LEGISLATORS WERE WHO VOTED TO TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS
Tell them you've had enough at the voting booth by voting them out when they come up for re-election.
Read What Was Previously Said About How Great The Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation System Was For Ohio's Injured Workers Before the Law Was Changed:
“Ohio has one of the most competitive workers’ compensation systems in the nation. This dividend (20%) strengthens that reputation and further helps to keep the cost of doing business down in Ohio.”
--Governor Bob Taft, Gongwer News story, Dec. 17, 2004
“I am pleased to say that the NASI study independently verifies many of the conclusions BWC has made about the Ohio Workers’ Compensation State Fund. I hope you agree that Ohio is a well-balanced state providing lower premiums, fair benefits and an added economic boost of more than $4 billion in dividend savings which, by the way, were not even considered in regard to this or any other study of workers’ compensation on a national level.”
--Jim Conrad, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC), May 21, 2002
“Workers’ compensation fund still at front of pack in investment returns.”
--headline, Gongwer News story, Feb. 6, 2004
“Once again, BWC has moved to help keep Ohio competitive in the workers compensation arena. Today’s decision to award a 20% dividend is a pleasant surprise for the business community and will serve as another building block in helping to improve Ohio’s economic climate, maintain jobs, and attract new business to the state.”
--Andy Doehrel, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 20, 2003
“The premium dividends employers have received have pumped $9.3 billion into Ohio’s economy since 1996. They put money back into the hands of the employers who paid into the system to allow them to spend or save it as they saw appropriate.”
--Jim Conrad memo to BWC shareholders, May 14, 2003
“Despite current economic conditions, Ohio’s premium rates are lower than the national average and holding stable. Across the country, other states’ rates are increasing, some by as much as 25 percent to 30 percent this year. In contrast, the average premium rate for private employees in Ohio is 39 percent lower today than it was in 1995 – without any reduction to injured workers’ benefits or services.”
--BWC letter to Ohio Speaker of the House, April 28, 2003