Workers in all types of jobs could find themselves falling ill or becoming injured while working. Sometimes when this happens they are unable to work for a period of time. During that healing period it is not uncommon for medical and living expenses to add up. Workers' compensation benefits are designed to help workers who find themselves in that position, cover those expenses.
As regular readers of this blog are likely aware most employers in the state of Pennsylvania are required to purchase a workers' compensation policy that provides benefits to injured workers who submit claims that are accepted. As many who have sought these benefits can attest to, obtaining these benefits is not always a simple task. It is not uncommon for the initial claim to be denied, leaving a worker with an option to appeal the decision usually through the aid of an attorney.
In Pennsylvania the entire process is taking longer than it once did as a result of new software that the Department of Labor and Industry recently implemented. Though the overhaul of the claim system process to obtain workers’ compensation benefits was designed to speed up the process, glitches including disappearing paperwork and problems with uploading documents are actually resulting in the exact opposite.
According to one workers’ compensation lawyer, prior to the new system, within a week of being filed a case would be assigned a judge. Usually in the two weeks following that assignment, a hearing would occur. Since the new system went into use however, none of the 20 workers’ compensation petitions he filed in September have been assigned to a judge, let alone had a hearing.
While these glitches are being worked out, a backlog of workers’ compensation cases is growing. In addition, injured and ill workers are suffering.
Source: Philly.com, “Computer woes plague Pa. worker comp system,” Angela Couloumbis, Oct. 23, 2013