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Changes to Workers’ Compensation Laws Could be Coming Soon

If you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation benefits can provide you with medical coverage and wage replacement benefits in some cases. Proposed legislative changes may affect certain aspects of benefit payments.

The state of Nebraska requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance provides no-fault benefits to workers who are injured during the course of employment. Currently, lawmakers in Nebraska have filed a series of bills that will affect workers’ compensation benefits. Here is an overview of what changes may be coming.

Reduced Waiting Period to Receive Benefits

One of the most notable proposed changes that will have a direct effect on workers who are injured on the job is a reduction in the number of days that an injured worker has to wait before receiving benefits. Currently, a worker who is injured cannot receive benefits for the first seven days that they miss work; the proposed bill, LB846, would reduce that waiting period to a mere three days. What is more, the time period for compensation to be paid to employees who are injured for the first days away from would be reduced to two weeks. (Currently, employees are only eligible for compensation for the first seven days away from work if they are unable to work for six weeks or more.) The Business and Labor Committee held a hearing on the bill on January 27, 2020. The legislation was introduced by Senator Dan Quick, District 35.

Implementation of a Drug Formulary

Another major change proposed to the workers’ compensation system this legislative session is the creation and implementation of a drug formulary. At its most basic level, a drug formulary refers to a list of prescription medications that offer the greatest overall value. LB487 was proposed by Senator Andrew Lagrone. The legislation would not only establish a drug formulary, but also states that any drug listed on the formulary could be prescribed to an injured worker under the workers’ compensation system without prior authorization.

Distribution of Death Benefits

Under the current Nebraska workers’ compensation system, if an injury results in an employee’s death, then their widow(er) is paid death benefits for either the remainder of their life or until remarriage. At the time of remarriage, the widow(er) will receive two years’ worth of benefits in a lump-sum payment. Children are also entitled to a percentage of death benefits until they reach age 19, or age 25 if they are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.

LB408, also proposed by Sen. Dan Quick, seeks to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act so that if there is no spouse or child(ren) of the decedent, the representative of the decedent’s estate will receive a lump-sum death benefits payment of $25,000.

Learn More by Talking to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

To learn more about workers’ compensation benefits in our state and how benefits may change in the future, call our Nebraska workers’ compensation lawyers at Andres Law Office, PC LLO today. We offer free consultations.