Each state handles its own workers’ compensation system. While there are some details that are the same between state programs, there are also many differences. Some of these differences could make a big deal when it comes to how long you receive benefits, how much compensation you receive and even if your injury qualifies for long-term payments.
NPR explains that your worker’s compensation experience is largely dependent on what state you live in. A good example of variances between the systems is determining the value of a loss of a body part. For example, the loss of an arm could vary in value from state to state from Under $50,000 to over $400,000. There are no federal guidelines or laws that oversee the system to keep it fair between states.
It really is just a matter of where you live as to what benefits you can get. It can be quite devastating to find out that if you only lived a few miles in another direction that you could get a much larger amount for a catastrophic injury because you would be in another state.
The differences are likely to only get worse as many states keep adjusting their systems to appeal to employers without a concern for the benefits offered to workers. This means that even if your state has a favorable system now, that could change. The switch of a system that favors employers over employees causes concerns for many who feel it is time to give workers’ compensation an overhaul where employees do not end up the losers.