The State of Workers’ Compensation Law in New Jersey

A large part of our adult lives revolves around work. It goes as deep as new friends, a comfortable living situation, and many other things. This all sounds good, but unfortunately, not everything is great at all times. Even though work helps us achieve a lot of things we want to do it can also cause us pain and suffering.

One of the most common issues experienced with work are work-related injuries. Let’s face it no one thinks it is going to happen to them and nobody hopes of getting injured at work.

According to the US Department of Labor, in 2015, the number of people killed on the job was 4,836… that amounts to 13 people a day. Injuries as a result of fatal four (falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between) stood at 4,379.

If you’ve ever been through a work-related injury, I’m sure your mind was full of doubts about how you would support your family. Eligibility for workers’ compensation and the amount are generally the prime areas of concern for employees with work-related injuries.

Thankfully the Workers’ Compensation takes care of your deepest concerns. The Act defines it as a “no fault” insurance program where the injured worker has the right to the following:

  1. Medical Benefits
  2. Temporary Total Benefits
  3. Permanent Partial Benefits
  4. Permanent Total Benefits

 

Legal or documented immigrants and workers do not have much to worry about. The process of filing a claim in generally straightforward and they can receive the mandated compensation.

It is the undocumented or illegal workers who worry about receiving compensation in case of a work-related injury. The first thing that goes through their mind is the fear of being deported as they aren’t legally authorized to work in the country.

And if they are deported, will workers’ compensation be of any help? And, so many undocumented workers don’t voice their rights out of fear of losing their right to work, and being deported.

Although various raids across the state of New Jersey has been rounding up hundreds of illegal migrant workers, the state remains liberal when it comes to the workers’ compensation. According to the NJ Workers’ Compensation Law, one is eligible for compensation even if he/she is an undocumented worker.

New Jersey courts have held that the effect of one’s immigration status has no bearing on the work-related injury suffered or the need, or right, to medical treatment for an injury suffered during employment.

In a landmark judgment in the case Fernandez-Lopez vs. Jose Cervino, Inc., 288 N.J. Super. 14 (App. Div. 1996), the Court ruled that an illegal alien status does not make a person ineligible according to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court also said, “Unless and until the Legislature expressly excludes undocumented aliens from workers’ compensation benefits, the compassionate public policy which animates this social legislation favors inclusion of all injured workers not specifically excluded by the Legislature.”

In the current scenario, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE and various enforcement authorities have stepped up vigilance, in efforts to curb illegal immigration and employment.

 

Though there hasn’t been any drastic change in laws that govern workers’ compensation, if you were injured at work, it’s very important to seek the help of an experienced lawyer before filing for compensation. It’s good to have someone on your side when you’re going through a lean phase in your life.

Hurt at work? Don't know what to do? Contact Goldberg & Wolf

Need Help?

If you or someone you know was injured at work the good attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf can help. Our attorneys have helped thousands of injured workers secure the right they deserve and need. You contact us today or call 856-651-1600.

Keep in mind that workers’ compensation law differs from state to state, if you were injured in the state of Pennsylvania reach out to our good friends at Krasno Krasno & Onuwdinjo.

Will Social Security Benefits Affect My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

It is not unheard of for an injured worker to receive both social security disability insurance benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time. They are the two biggest work-based disability programs in the U.S. While both payouts for a disability, social security disability insurance benefits are paid to those who cannot be employed due to the injury.

Workers’ compensation benefits can be a temporary, long-term, partial or total disability. However, this is a tough task to handle on your own. You should have a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer by your side to help you through this difficult and time-consuming process.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Will Change

If you receive workers’ compensation benefits and SSDI, the total amount of both cannot exceed over 80 percent of your previous earnings before being injured. Also, it is important to note that some states have reverse offset law, which allows for the reduction of workers’ compensation benefits if you are also receiving Social Security Disability.

An “Offset” to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If the total amount exceeds 80 percent, the “excess” is deducted from your SSDI benefits. This is called a “workers’ compensation offset.” When Offsets are calculated, Social Security first must identify the “applicable limit,” or the maximum monthly amount one can receive under the federal law.

When a person receives more benefits than the applicable limit for each month, then Social Security will offset the SSDI to fit the quota for the monthly limit. Workers’ compensation will offset SSDI more often to the people that earned lower incomes when they were still working. This is because their applicable limits are lower and easier to go over when the worker starts to receive both SSDI and workers’ compensation benefits.

For example, an attorney might write in a language that specifies $24,000 is meant to be a $50 per month payment for every month until he reaches the age of 65 ($24,000/480 months). Social security would be the one to calculate any SSDI offset based on the $50 per month for 480 months payment. Because the claimant would have a lower monthly income from workers’ comp, he would lose less SSDI or might stay clear of the offset entirely.

How to Minimize the Offset

Many disability lawyers will draft settlements to reduce the SSDI “offset.” The language in these documents will be determined by social security on how much will be “offset.” Also, some will exclude medical and legal expenses from the workers’ compensation lump sum. The language and the issues to be settled come from state law, not federal law. Thus, they will vary from state to state as workers’ compensation programs do.

Hurt at work? Don't know what to do? Contact Goldberg & Wolf

Get the Benefits You Deserve

If you in a position in which you are receiving both Social Security Benefits and Workers’ Compensation benefits at the same time, you should not hesitate to get to help, here at Goldberg & Wolf Law Offices we are more than happy to assist you. We will make sure that you understand how Social Security Disability Insurance affects your workers’ compensation and how we can mitigate the potential damage. We will help make sure that you get the most from your benefits. Contact us today or call (856) 651-1600 to schedule a free consultation today and talk to one of our experienced and highly skilled attorneys.