Letter to the Editor: Important to restore fairness to worker's compensation
Recent publicity about a bank teller suffering post traumatic stress syndrome and unable to get benefits from WSI offers a glaring example of how the system operates.
WSI can systematically deny benefits for certain types of injuries because the law says it should. This is especially true of injuries to the back, neck, knees or hips. WSI often classifies these injuries as preexisting or degenerative. They say that the worker would have become unable to work without the job injury because of arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or some other progressive condition. The mere fact that the worker was able to work and suddenly couldn't work, after an injury, apparently does not mean anything. Wording of the law allows such denial. Legislators have had numerous chances in recent years to amend workers compensation laws to correct such apparent injustice but the majority has consistently voted "No."
In its editorial of July 21, the Forum stated, "Apparently lawmakers who voted against extending benefits to work-related mental conditions are more interested in keeping WSI's coffers fat than with the health of the people they purport to represent." It concluded, "When the legislature convenes early next year, bringing WSI benefits into the 21st century (heck, the 20th!) should be on the agenda." I couldn't agree more.
I urge voters to talk to their legislators and candidates and make sure they are willing to restore fairness to our workers compensation system.