Increase in Permanent Disability Benefits: Here is how you can help.

Los Angeles, July 2, 2007 - The Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation firm, Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP, want to keep you up to date on pending Workers' Compensation legislation in California that will have an impact on future permanent disability payments to injured workers.

On April 19, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 899 which changed the way permanent disability benefits were to be determined for injured workers in the state of California. Later that year, a new Permanent Disability Rating Schedule was adopted by the Division of Workers' Compensation. This new schedule applies to all injuries after January 1, 2005, and with some exceptions, to a large number of injuries that predate January 1, 2005.

Subsequent studies have shown that these changes drastically reduced permanent disability benefits to injured workers, despite the Governor being on record as stating, "I never want to hurt any one of the workers or the people that get the benefits." (November 19, 2003, Sacramento Bee).

Help may be on the way. The California Legislature is presently considering two bills that would increase permanent disability benefits to injured workers. Senate President pro Tem Don Perata has introduced legislation, Senate Bill 936, that would double permanent disability benefits in California by January 1, 2010. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez has introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 1212, that would require the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation of the State of California to increase permanent disability to conform with wage loss data and studies by the California Commission on Health and Safety in Workers' Compensation (CHSWC).

Both Senate Bill 936 and Assembly Bill 1212 are supported by organized labor, including the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, Teamsters Public Affairs Council, UFCW, CA Professional Firefighters, SEIU, AFSCME, LIUNA and SBCTC.

You can help by writing, phoning, or emailing your legislator and Governor Schwarzenegger to urge them to support both Senate Bill 936 and Assembly Bill 1212.

Find your legislator's contact info at: www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html.

The Governor can be contacted at 916-445-2841.

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