Protect your rights to compensation

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To the Editor:
I would like to inform the working public about a serious threat to the rights of injured workers.
Some North Carolina lawmakers are introducing legislation, which if passed, will drastically reduce workers’ compensation benefits. Families that rely on workers’ compensation benefits to pay for food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities may be unable to pay their bills.
Your state representatives are being pressured by big business and insurance company lobbyists to significantly reduce these benefits. Some of these changes may apply to you.
One of the changes being pushed is a law that will automatically cut off weekly workers’ compensation benefits after a certain number of weeks. This law will automatically stop weekly benefits to an injured worker, even if he or she is still disabled and unable to return to any type of work.
Another change being pushed will stop compensation even before the automatic cutoff if the insurance company can show there is a job within the injured workers’ physical restrictions. Compensation will be stopped, even if the employer will not hire the worker because of the worker’s injury, age education or experience.
Compensation will be stopped even if the job pays a lot less than the workers’ pre-injury job, and even if the job has no room for advancement and no benefits.
The insurance companies want absolute control over selecting which doctors will treat injured workers and they want the right to pick up the phone and talk to your treating doctors, without your knowledge or permission.
Don’t let our state government hand out corporate welfare to the business and insurance companies while they cut off needed benefits to injured and disabled families.
If benefits are cut off, injured workers may have no choice but to shift to public benefit programs. Our State budget can’t take on this burden, which is the responsibility of the employer or insurance company.
Our economy needs to grow and it cannot grow if families can no longer pay for their food, houses, or cars.
The only way to prevent this bill from becoming law is for you, your friends and family to contact your local legislators and ask them to vote against this bill. Your State House Representative and State Senator need to hear from you NOW.
The contact information for your elected officials is listed below. Call and write them and tell them to vote against new laws that reduce benefits to injured workers.

State Rep. W. David Guice
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury St. Rm. 528
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Phone: 919-715-4466

State Senator Tom Apdaca
NC Senate
2010 Legislative Bldg
Raleigh, NC 27601-2808
Phone: 919-733-5745
–– Al Tinsley

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