My mother often heard me say this when I did not get a good grade in grammar school. My friend John Cirillo was regularly thrown under the bus when this happened.
Kind of like how Ralphie threw his friend under the bus in “A Christmas Story” when he was caught swearing while helping his Dad change a flat tire.
The response I got from my mother was always the same, “Well if Johnny jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, you going to do that too?”
She would tell me she did not care what Johnny or others did, she only cared about what I did.
I know what you are thinking, what does this have to do with California workers' compensation? I mean, after all, this is a blog about workers' compensation topics in California.
Well, there was an article recently in WorkCompCentral about how the California Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau reported 75% of the increase in the special assessment paid by workers' compensation carriers was caused by the need to increase the funds for the Subsequent Injury Benefit Trust Fund (‘SIBTF’).
Putting aside for now the actual cost to fund SIBTF is less than a penny for every premium dollar paid to the workers' compensation carriers or the fact workers' compensation carriers in California are making records profits, this fund was set up to help the most injured of the injured workers in California.
What is the Subsequent Injury Benefit Trust Fund (SIBTF)?
SIBTF (then the Subsequent Injury Fund) was created in 1945 with the return of Veterans from WWII. The fund was created in part to deal with the fear employers would not want to hire a disabled Vet because if the Vet was injured on the job with the new employer, the Vet’s previous disability coupled with their new work injury could cause the employer to pay more than if the employer hired a non-disabled Vet.
To encourage employers to hire disabled Vets the fund was created so the fund, when certain conditions are met, would pick up the difference between what the employer would pay if he hired a non-disabled Vet and what the employer would pay by hiring a disabled Vet should there be a subsequent work injury and the workers' compensation cost to the employer was more because the employer hired a disabled Vet. A very noble goal - providing employers the incentive to hire disabled Vets.
Today, the SIBTF does not just protect disabled Vets, but it also covers those who have pre-existing disabilities. These employees injured on the job are not adequately covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nor the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for benefits under California Workers' Compensation laws. When many of these workers are injured on the job because of their pre-existing injuries, these workers are too disabled to return to any type of work.
Be a Leader, Not a Follower
The WorkCompCentral article indicates the WCIRB is reviewing the costs of the SIBTF and deciding whether to eliminate it like other States in the U.S. have done in the last 25 years.
In the past, California administrations have used WCIRB reports and "floating" information through the media to set up legislative changes the insurance companies and administration want once the full WCIRB study comes out.
In this case, a race to eliminate protections for pre-existing disabled employees who lose their jobs when subsequently injured on the job.
And of course, a large part of the argument to get rid of California’s SIBTF will be, “Well other states had such funds and eliminated them.”
I can hear my Mom’s voice in my head now. But what are California legislators hearing?
Please contact your California legislator and let them know SIBTF should not be taken away, despite what other states have done. Tell them you do not care how other states treat their workers, but you do care about how California treats their workers
With over three decades of combined experience handling workers' compensation claims in California, McLaughlin & Sanchez helps injured workers throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties secure the medical care they need and the financial compensation they deserve. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.