Just about anyone in Billings can be injured due to their line of work. Of course, it may seem obvious that people with physical jobs, such as factory workers, construction workers or oil field workers may be exposed to many workplace dangers. However, even those in office jobs can suffer workplace injuries, for example, repetitive stress disorder due to having to spend much of their time typing at a computer.
Those injured in the workplace may find that their injury is severe enough that they must take time off from work in order to recover. Depending on the severity of the injury, this time off of work may last a long time, prompting the worker to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, current and potential recipients of workers’ compensation benefits in Billings may be concerned to hear that the Montana State Fund board of records has decided to lower the rates of workers’ compensation benefits this year by 5 percent.
While this may be unsettling to hear, it may not come as much of a surprise, as this would make it the 11th subsequent year that workers’ compensation rates have either been reduced or stayed the same. Next, the rate filing must be passed by the Montana Insurance Commissioner. This is to make sure that the rate filing does not discriminate and is neither excessive nor inadequate.
The president of the Montana State Fund claims that this rate reduction is a positive thing for employers. According to him, it reflects both reforms made by the legislature and employers’ increasing efforts to reduce the number of accidents in their workplace, as well as promote a culture of safety. As of right now, the State Fund provides insurances to approximately 26,000 businesses in the state. Moreover, the state has seen the number of workers’ compensation claims fall. In 2010, the number of claims brought by full time employees was 6.6 per every 100 employees. By 2014, that number dropped to 6.1 claims per every 100 employees.
While employers may benefit from this change, it could be concerning for those in need of workers’ compensation benefits. No one who deserves benefits should see the amount they are due go down. In addition, it is important that a person is not unfairly denied benefits. Those who are concerned about how this change affects them may want to seek legal advice.
Source: Great Falls Tribune, “State Fund board Oks workers’ compensation decrease,” March 15, 2017