What does a low unemployment rate mean for partially disabled individuals on Michigan workers’ compensation?
The Detroit News has reported that Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8% in June 2017. This is a full 1% drop from last year and the lowest recorded number since 2000.
It’s not all good news because a shrinking workforce is one of the driving factors. The state’s total number of people in the workforce in June 2017 was 281,000 below the number in August 2000.
We find these statistics interesting because our clients must perform a good-faith job search as part of their workers’ compensation case. It appears to be much easier for them with a lower unemployment rate.
Missing from the unemployment statistics are the millions of people with disabilities who are unable to find a job. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for persons with a disability was actually 10.5% or about twice the national average.
Michigan’s workers’ compensation law was amended in 2011 allowing for a new category of partially disabled. These individuals do not receive their full wage loss benefits and insurance company experts decide what jobs are available.
Partially disabled individuals with limited education and skills are told they can find a new job within their restrictions. We had one client see his benefits slashed to just $19 per week based upon residual wage earning capacity. It did not matter that he was unable to get hired.
It is time to fix Michigan’s workers’ compensation law and end the abusive practice of “phantom wages.” We need better programs to help partially disabled workers transition to new careers.
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) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Innovate Impact Media.