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Gelman: Watered-Down Supplemental Benefits Bill Heads to Governor

  • State: New Jersey

A watered-down version of the original New Jersey supplemental workers’ compensation benefits bill has been approved by the Legislature. It now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy for review.

Jon L. Gelman

Jon L. Gelman

The long-awaited legislation has been trimmed down substantially from the initial expansive iteration that covered “an employee,” to its present limitation of covering only “a public safety worker, or a dependent of a public safety worker.”

Senate Bill 1967 basically offsets the proposed additional supplemental payments from the state pension system.

New Jersey's present state pension debit is massive. The state continues to to be economically challenged on how to fund the state pension system going forward.

The legislation continues to protect New Jersey's "reverse Social Security offset" to shield workers' compensation insurance carriers' "sacred cow."

President Trump has proposed the complete elimination of the offset. The vast majority of jurisdictions in the U.S. are non-reverse offset states and as such permit Social Security to take the age offset before age 62. In New Jersey the insurance companies may reduce totally disability benefits by a schedule created under the federal rules.

The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services concluded in its fiscal report that, “Applying the interwoven offset rules set forth in current law and the bill to different hypothetical cases, the OLS concludes that the bill will not raise the combined amount of benefits from the three wage replacement programs for some targeted workers, and only after many years for others. “

Claimants' attorney Jon L. Gelman is the author of "New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law" and co-author of the national treatise "Modern Workers’ Compensation Law." He is based in Wayne, New Jersey. This blog post is republished with permission.

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