Are you part of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent?

Workers comp lawyer in Michigan explains how wage loss benefits are not taxed and why disabled employees get treated like second hand citizens.

Motherjones.com has released the full transcript of Mitt Romney’s secret fundraiser video. The most controversial comments revolve around the 47% of Americans who Romney says pay no income tax.

Romney is heard saying there are 47 percent “who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” Romney says “and so my job is not to worry about those people – I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

We think these comments are outrageous considering a Republican presidential nominee appears to have written off 47% of the American public. A large percentage of which are the elderly and disabled. Romney also seems to ignore the fact that most of the 47% still pay taxes on payroll. This is what supports Social Security and Medicare.

Romney’s comments got us thinking about our own clients. They pay no income tax on wage loss benefits and many are made to feel they are somehow cheating the system. So let’s dispel some misconceptions and look at the facts.

Lost wages and income taxes

A disabled employee is supposed to receive 80% of his or her after-tax average weekly wage from workers comp. This works out to be about 60% of what was being earned before the injury. Not exactly good news for someone who was living paycheck to paycheck.

The disabled employee owes no income tax because wage loss benefits are calculated on the after-tax amount of the average weekly wage. Turns out it is the employer or insurance company who is actually paying less in wage loss benefits because taxes are not being considered in the calculation.

Getting squeezed on both sides

Recent amendments to Michigan’s workers comp law have changed how wage loss benefits are calculated. Insurance companies can now estimate a person’s wage earning capacity and reduce benefits accordingly. It does not matter if the person is working or not.

Many employers and insurance companies are now paying much less than 80% of the after-tax wage. This has resulted in real hardship for Michigan families while insurance companies and big corporations get richer. Maybe our clients really are victims, Mr. Romney.

Where to turn for help

We understand the problems that people face after an injury at work. We are committed to helping people understand their legal rights and will fight to obtain the best possible recovery.

Call (855) 221-2667 to speak with one of our workers comp lawyers in Michigan. There is no fee to review your claim.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers comp benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Video: Mitt Romney’s “47 Percent” Comments

09/01/2012
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