Relates to payment of disability benefits.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to payment of disability benefits
PURPOSE: To require that injured workers receiving benefits under the workers' compensation law be given reasonable time to respond to any inquiry that requires timely response in order to avoid a disruption in benefits and clear notice of the consequences of failure to respond.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 25 of the workers' compensation law to require that when timely payment of benefits is contingent on the recipient's timely response to an inquiry from the insurer, the insurer shall provide a reasonable time period for response and clear notice of the consequences of failing to respond by the deadline. Section 2 of the bill sets forth the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: It is unacceptable for injured workers receiving benefits under the Workers' Compensation Law ("WCL") to suffer any delay or lapse in payment for failure to follow requirements that are not disclosed to them. Too often, insurers send injured workers written requests for information but fail to provide a reasonable period in which to respond or any indication that failure to respond could result in a delay in benefits. Recipients accustomed to regular direct deposit of benefit checks, for example, who have no reason to expect a problem, incur hundreds of dollars in penalties for bounced checks and worse for missing the response deadline. Recovering from this kind of disruption can be particularly difficult for recipients relying on their benefits as the primary or sole source of income.
With the enactment of A.00619/S.5108 in August 2010, the law was amended to remedy this situation with respect to workers receiving disability benefits under WCL Article 9. This bill would provide the same remedy for the much larger number of workers receiving benefits under other sections of the WCL which do not require advance notice of a potential disruption in benefits for failure to timely respond to any inquiry.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010 - No Senate bill; A.11711 Died in the Labor Committee.
FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4176 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 22, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor AN ACT to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to payment of disability benefits THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) 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: (a) The compensation herein provided for shall be paid periodically and promptly in like manner as wages, and as it accrues, and directly to the person entitled thereto without waiting for an award by the board, including those cases previously established and closed by the board upon receipt of an application to reopen such case, except in those cases in which the right to compensation is controverted by the employ- er. ANY INQUIRY WHICH REQUIRES THE EMPLOYEE'S RESPONSE IN ORDER TO CONTINUE BENEFITS UNINTERRUPTED OR UNMODIFIED SHALL PROVIDE A REASONABLE TIME PERIOD IN WHICH TO RESPOND AND INCLUDE A CLEAR AND PROMINENT STATE- MENT OF THE DEADLINE FOR RESPONDING AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING TO RESPOND. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00057-01-1