MACo Opposes Removal of Longstanding Workers’ Comp and Retirement Benefits Offset

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel, Les Knapp, provided testimony in opposition to legislation (SB 751) that would appear to shift costs from the pension/retirement sector to the workers’ compensation sector, which may not affect State costs but would increase costs on local governments. One of the key provisions of SB 751 is the repeal of the ability to offset a workers’ compensation benefit if a person is receiving an ordinary disability payment for the same injury from the State Retirement and Pension System (SRPS). Another appears to result in the shifting of costs between SRPS and the workers’ compensation system. The bill was sponsored by Senator Guy Guzzone.

The bill would allow the “stacking” of workers’ compensation and disability retirement benefits for someone under an ordinary disability requirement, removing a longstanding standard offset that provides a person can only be compensated one time for one injury.

MACo’s testimony states,

While such shifting may ultimately be neutral at the State level, as the State pays for both retirement benefits and workers’ compensation for its members, such shifts have a different effect for local governments, which pay for workers’ compensation directly.

The cross-file to the bill, HB 344, was heard by the House Economic Matters committee on February 21, 2017. Joining Mr. Knapp testifying in opposition to this bill was Wendy Karpel, Associate County Attorney from Montgomery County.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.