Will A Government Shutdown Affect My Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Amidst political turmoil on Capitol Hill, the government can reach a point of shutdown. During this time, numerous federal services come to a halt, leaving many to wonder about the status of their workers' compensation benefits.

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Posted: 10/11/2023
 Workers Compensation  

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that provides employees with benefits if they suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. These benefits can cover medical care, rehabilitation, and a portion of lost wages. Workers' compensation programs are generally managed at the state level, although there are federal programs for federal employees and certain other groups.

Impact of a Government Shutdown

State Programs

State-run workers’ compensation programs are typically funded through state resources and employer contributions, not federal funds. Therefore, they tend to continue operating even during federal government shutdowns.

However, a prolonged shutdown may indirectly affect state budgets and resources, potentially delaying processes or payments in extreme cases.

In Montana, most workers’ compensation claims are handled through the Montana State Fund, although many are also handled through private insurance companies. As a result, injured workers receiving Montana Workers’ Compensation benefits are unlikely to feel any direct effects from a federal government shutdown.

Federal Programs

Federal workers’ compensation programs, such as those managed by the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), could see delays in claim processing and payments during a government shutdown.

However, essential personnel may continue working through a shutdown to ensure that current beneficiaries receive their benefits without interruption.

Access to Federal Resources

A government shutdown may limit your access to federal agencies and resources that can assist in processing your workers' compensation claim or providing necessary information. For example, injured workers applying for Social Security Disability Benefits may experience delays in the application process, as might individuals seeking approval of a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set Aside for settlement of a workers’ compensation claim.

A government shutdown can introduce a level of uncertainty for individuals receiving, or in the process of claiming, workers’ compensation benefits, especially those under federal programs. While state programs are often insulated from the effects of a shutdown, federal programs and resources may experience delays. It is advisable to keep in close contact with your workers’ compensation attorney, your employer, and your state or federal workers’ compensation office to stay informed and to understand any potential impacts on your case. In the realm of workers’ compensation, being proactive is always a wise approach to ensure the continuity of benefits and the proper handling of your claim amidst political and governmental upheavals.

We Are Here to Help You

If you have been affected by a government shutdown and have questions about your workers’ compensation rights, our workers’ compensation lawyers have extensive experience in this space. At Odegaard Injury Lawyers, we can advise you about your coverage and guide you through your options and opportunities. Contact us for a free consultation.

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