Ohio: Lawmaker seeks to prohibit illegals from receiving comp benefits
Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said his proposal was prompted after learning that the state's Bureau of Workers' Compensation doesn't require injured employees to document their status prior to receiving benefits. According to the senator, Ohio law permits minors and aliens to receive workers' comp benefits but does not have statutory language in place to block illegal aliens from receiving awards.
Seitz told the Associated Press that under his legislation, injured employees would be required to prove that they are legally permitted to work in the country by providing a visa or birth certificate. The bill would also offer protection to employers who unknowingly hire illegal workers from being sued in civil court if the individual's comp claim is denied by the state.
Rate reform efforts. In addition to Seitz's announcement, state officials received updates on the BWC rate reform efforts. According to the bureau's board of directors, reports presented to the actuarial committee indicate that rate reform is having a positive impact on Ohio's economic competitiveness. Marsha Ryan, administrator of the BWC, said reform has helped to set rates more accurately, reduce workers' comp premiums for more than half of the state's private employers, give employers more options for controlling their comp costs, and has increased safety requirements.
"This year, more than half of Ohio's private employers will share in a premium reduction of $139 million," she said. "We are also seeing the impact of our lower rates in national comparisons, strengthening Ohio's position for new investment to our state."
Ryan said the BWC is examining the competitiveness of its new rates with those of other states. A preliminary report shows Ohio's rates are now in line with those of most other states. A full report is expected in early 2010.
The board received a status report on the implementation of recommendations from the comprehensive study performed by Deloitte Consulting LLP. Ryan said an internal team has been reviewing the 900-page study and is analyzing recommendations and prioritizing recommended changes. To date, 20 recommendations have been implemented with approximately 45 percent of strategies expected to be addressed later in this fiscal year, she said.
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January 4, 2010
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