Can you live on $19 per week? Workers’ compensation law says ‘yes.’

Michigan’s workers’ compensation law is broken and needs an immediate fix to ensure partially disabled individuals receive minimum benefits.

CBS News is reporting on how minimum wage does not cover rent anywhere in the United States. The study cited was based upon the standard budgeting concept of not spending more than 30% of income on housing. It shows how low-income Americans are having trouble in this economy.

We found this article fascinating because of the many financial challenges our workers’ compensation clients face. Employees hurt on-the-job get just 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage when they are disabled from working. Many of these individuals are living paycheck-to-paycheck and this can result in a financial disaster.

Michigan law was amended in 2011 to allow a further reduction based upon “wage earning capacity.” This is when the insurance company says an employee is only partially disabled and can find another job. A vocational expert is hired to perform a transferable skills analysis and labor market survey. Jobs are identified and then used to reduce the comp rate. It does not matter if the job is offered to the partially disabled employee.

We represented a gentleman who saw his comp rate slashed to just $19 per week. He was unemployed and batting cancer. This is a man who had been on workers’ compensation for years. A settlement was eventually paid but his family suffered for months without sufficient income.

Insurance companies should not be allowed to use “phantom wages” to force disabled people out of their homes or prevent them from putting food on the table. It is time we fix workers’ compensation by guaranteeing a minimum weekly benefit.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by janoma.cl.

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