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Might the federal government step in on workers’ comp?

Currently, here in America, the general workers’ compensation system is state-based. There are no federal standards in place for state workers’ comp regimes.

So, each state has its own particular rules regarding workers’ comp benefits and the process for applying for such benefits. This is why, when a worker here in Central Illinois suffers a workplace injury, they may want guidance from a legal professional with deep knowledge of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system.

Might the future see a greater level of federal involvement in the area of workers’ comp? A recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor raises this possibility.

The report looked at changes that have occurred in the workers’ comp laws of various different states in recent years. The study concluded that some of these changes are making it more difficult for workers to get the workers’ comp benefits they need. It further concluded that the risk of injured workers ending up in poverty is becoming particularly high.

In response to these findings, the report suggested exploring the possibility of federal measures to help protect workers. Possible measures include setting federal minimum benefits levels and establishing federal standards for workers’ comp.

Such measures, if ultimately taken, could have major impacts on workers’ compensation systems throughout the country. One wonders if the report’s suggestions will ultimately lead to any actions on the federal front.

What do you think of the idea of the federal government playing a bigger role in workers’ comp? If the federal government did start taking oversight measures regarding workers’ comp systems, what impacts do you think it would have on workers here in Illinois?

Source: NPR, “Labor Report Urges Study Of A Federal Role In State Workers' Comp Laws,” Howard Berkes and Michael Grabell, Oct. 5, 2016

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