Rhode Island lawmakers advance comp legislation despite official's concerns
State Treasurer Gina Raimondo raised concerns as the state Senate passed the measure.
Advocates for the bill say it would prevent the Retirement Board from reducing a disability pension by amounts set aside as part of a workers' comp settlement for future medical bills, disfigurement and loss of use benefits, and items provided by union contracts such as unused sick and vacation. Opponents argue the measure essentially would allow double payments for the same injury from the workers' comp and retirement systems.
The law currently allows offsets against any disability or death benefits provided by the Retirement System for amounts paid or payable through workers' comp. The proposal would provide an exception for benefits authorized by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. One sticking point for opponents is that the measure would apply retroactively to cases pending before the Rhode Island Retirement Board and appeals of prior decisions made by the board.
A spokesman for the Treasurer is quoted as saying the legislation would apparently reduce the disability pension offset and increase the disability benefit paid from the Retirement System, which could have an adverse financial impact.
Before passing the measure, the Senate added language saying that any payment that would result in a double recovery by the employee would not be allowed.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 7, 2011
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