Provides that certain workers' compensation payments shall be made in one lump sum without commutation to a present value amount.
BILL NUMBER: S2776B
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to the payment of compensation
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : This bill would change the payment structure to injured workers for permanent partial disability from incremental payments to one lump sum.
Section 1 of the bill amends section 25(1) (b) of the Workers' Compensation Law to require that an award of compensation for permanent partial disability shall be payable in one lump sum upon the request of the injured employee.
Section 2 of the bill amends section 15(3) (u) of the Workers' Compensation Law to require that a total or partial loss of use of more than one member or parts of members shall be fully payable in one lump sum upon the request of the injured employee.
JUSTIFICATION : Injured workers who suffer permanent functional limitations to extremities or certain other body parts are typically compensated for such losses by a schedule loss of use award. Such awards, calculated after deducting the amount of lost time benefits paid to the claimant, provide the injured worker with a cushion against the diminished future earning capacity caused by his or her permanent functional impairment.
The Workers' Compensation Board has recognized that it is entirely consistent with the economic and humanitarian objects of the Workers' compensation Law to pay such schedule loss of use awards to the injured worker in one lump sum, rather than periodically over time. In Lacroix v. Syracuse Executive Air Service 25 A.D. 3d 967 (2006), the Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed the Workers' Compensation Board's approval of the lump sum payment of schedule loss of use awards. That decision, however, was reversed by the New York Court of Appeals in LaCroix v. Syracuse Executive Air Service, 8 N.Y.3d 348(2007}. While recognizing that a schedule loss of use award seeks to compensate the injured worker for loss of earning power, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Board's policy contravened the language of the Worker's Compensation Law and that any departure from the periodic method of payment of schedule loss of use awards must come from the Legislature.
Lump sum payments allow injured workers to invest their award if they choose and better prepare for the adverse financial and emotional effects of their resulting diminished earning capacity. This bill allows an injured worker to request that their award be paid as a lump sum.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2008: A.10879 Reported to Ways and Means
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act would take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2776--B Cal. No. 512 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 2, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sens. ONORATO, PERKINS, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- reported favorably from said commit- tee, ordered to first report, amended on first report, ordered to a second report and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of second report AN ACT to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to the payment of compensation THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 25 of the work- ers' compensation law, as amended by chapter 635 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows: (b) The first payment of compensation shall become due on the four- teenth day of disability on which date or within four days thereafter all compensation then due shall be paid, and the compensation payable bi-weekly thereafter; but the board may determine that any payments may be made monthly or at any other period, as it may deem advisable. AN AWARD OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE FOR PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY UNDER PARAGRAPHS A THROUGH T, INCLUSIVE, OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION FIFTEEN OF THIS ARTICLE, SHALL BE PAYABLE IN ONE LUMP SUM, WITHOUT COMMUTATION TO PRESENT VALUE UPON THE REQUEST OF THE INJURED EMPLOYEE. S 2. Paragraph u of subdivision 3 of section 15 of the workers' compensation law, as added by chapter 301 of the laws of 1929, is amended to read as follows: u. Total or partial loss or loss of use of more than one member or parts of members. In any case in which there shall be a loss or loss of use of more than one member or parts of more than one member set forth in paragraphs a
[to]THROUGH t, [both]inclusive, of this subdivision, but not amounting to permanent total disability, the board shall awardEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04744-06-9 S. 2776--B 2
compensation for the loss or loss of use of each such member or part thereof, which awards
[shall run consecutively]SHALL BE FULLY PAYABLE IN ONE LUMP SUM UPON THE REQUEST OF THE INJURED EMPLOYEE. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.