Implement minimum federal standards for worker’s comp.
This petition had 5,782 supporters
In 1998, a file cabinet fell on me at my workplace, seriously injuring my back, knees and arms. I diligently followed my company’s worker’s compensation plan, going from doctor to doctor, waiting on diagnoses for months on end. But by the time actual treatment started, my spine was so bad, I had to have major invasive surgery and was left permanently disabled.
And that was only the beginning of my struggle. I was not receiving enough compensation to cover my medications, and I was in major debt. I fought the Worker’s Compensation Board for sufficient coverage for 11 years, until they abruptly closed my case, without any valid reason, in 2009. I now receive nothing from them, and all of my appeals have been met with denials.
Worker’s compensation came about as a bargain between business and workers -- we gave up our right to sue our employers in exchange for the promise of protection if we were injured on the job. I now live in poverty. I can’t afford to buy the medications I need, and have trouble putting food on my table. What a great bargain.
I have since learned that hundreds of thousands of workers around the country are enduring the same hardship as me. States have stripped workers’ compensation down to nearly nothing in recent years, and people are suffering for it. Please join me in demanding that the federal government step in and implement minimum federal standards for worker’s comp, so that workers can be a respected part of the bargain again.
33 states have cut worker’s comp in the last decade, some so drastically that they virtually guarantee injured workers will plummet into poverty. Workers often battle insurance companies for years to get the surgeries and prescriptions they need. It’s a story I know too well. And, amazingly, the U.S. Labor Department flat-out stopped keeping track of states’ compliance with federal recommendations in 2004. It seems the workers have been forgotten.
So where do we go for relief when our worker’s comp falls short? We have no choice but to turn to Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid for lost wages and medical costs. This means that it’s American taxpayers, rather than worker’s comp insurers, who shell out tens of billions of dollars a year to make up for the cuts. Nobody wins in this.
States are clearly not looking out for workers, so we must demand that the federal government do so. I don’t want anyone else to experience my torment. Please join me in calling on Congress to implement minimum federal standards for worker’s comp.
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