A worker's compensation bill approved by both houses of the state legislature Sunday would allow New York to escape its distinction of having the lowest benefits for partially disabled workers in the nation.
Under the new worker's compensation bill, the weekly maximum compensation rates for partially disabled New Yorkers will jump from $150 to $280. The maximum rate for totally disabled New Yorkers will rise from $300 to $340 a week.New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo is expected to sign the bill, which would be effective immediately. The state Assembly finished its 1990 session early Monday after approving bills to bail out hospitals and boost worker's compensation benefits, among other items.
On July 1, 1991, the state will eliminate the distinction between partial and total disability and give all New Yorkers granted worker's compensation benefits a maximum of $350 a week. That rate will increase again to $400 a week on July 1, 1992.
Kevin Foley, deputy superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department, said that his office will be looking at the bill to determine the impact that it will have on the state's insurance industry. He speculated that the bill was introduced by the legislature in response to pressure by organized labor.
"A lot of senators recognized that benefits were set far too low. The rate of inflation continued to rise while compensation benefits didn't move at all," he said.