Nebraska: Amendment strips cost-of-living increase in WC benefits
Legislative Bill 630, sponsored by Sen. Steve Lathrop, D-Omaha, would have annually updated permanent disability benefit amounts to account for cost-of-living increases.
Many believed this would have increased the cost of workers' compensation for businesses in the state.
When lawmakers debated the bill, Sen. Ken Schilz, R- Ogallala, introduced an amendment that stripped the cost-of-living increase from the legislation. Schilz and other Republicans in the Senate said the increase would come at a terrible time for business owners in the state, who are already facing tough economic conditions. Opponents of the bill estimated the provision would have added at least $3.5 million in workers' comp costs over the next decade.
The legislation also addressed a number of minor workers' comp reforms, such as ensuring that the cancellation of a workers' comp insurance policy is not effective unless notice is given to the state Workers' Compensation Court and to the employer and allowing modern methods of payment, such as direct deposit and debit cards, for indemnity benefits.
Legislators will hold a second debate on the legislation in the coming weeks.
May 28, 2009
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