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How can workers' comp help families?

For New Yorkers hurt on the job, workers' compensation usually helps replace some of your lost income while you recover. Along with money to pay the bills and medical care to treat your injury, you may not realize there are social services to help you and your family deal with the frustration and stress that comes with an injury.

The state Workers' Compensation Board explains that injuries, both permanent and temporary, can have an overwhelming effect on the family of an injured worker. Not only are they harmed financially, but they can experience a change in social status and personal roles within the family dynamic. Social workers can help counsel family members in dealing with the changes, and offer a variety of additional services as well.

  • Social workers are able to work with insurance carriers to arrange for benefits, and they can also:
  • Attempt to delay legal actions against the worker until other issues are settled.
  • Negotiate for lower payments with landlords, as well as utility businesses and other services.
  • Help the family develop a budget more in line with its now-reduced income.
  • Refer the family to community programs offering food stamps, shelters, food pantries and others.

Social services workers will also work with counselors from the bureau's rehabilitation program to eliminate problems that may be keeping an injured employee from returning to work. These problems can include vocational, medical, social and environmental issues. Some of the actions they may take include expediting compensation cases, finding dependents in cases of the worker's death and helping the injured find medical care, including arranging for care to be provided through home services or in a convalescent facility.

All types of services are free and remain confidential. They are available to all family members of the injured worker.

The information in this article is of a general nature and should not replace legal counsel.

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