Let me explain first why I'm writing about a development in workers compensation law. Claimants receiving Social Security disability benefits as well as workers compensation benefits are subject to an offset. Usually, Social Security disability benefits are reduced because of the receipt of workers compensation benefits. Sometimes the offset works in the opposite direction.
The states of Texas and Oklahoma now allow employers to opt out of workers compensation. You read that right -- opt out of workers compensation. The employers have to set up benefits that parallel workers compensation but they can arrange things in ways that save money, such as refusing to pay for carpal tunnel syndrome or refusing to pay benefits unless a worker reports an injury by the end of his or her work shift or cutting off all benefits after two years.
In terms of workers rights, these plans are very worrisome but I'm writing about the Social Security implications. Social Security has decided that benefits under the company plans that substitute for workers compensation aren't subject to the workers compensation offset. This development is already costing Social Security's Disability Insurance Trust Fund money. Other states are studying what Texas and Oklahoma have done. There may be significant effects upon Social Security. Employers are trying to shift the burden of providing for workers injured on the job to Social Security and Medicare. This needs Congressional scrutiny.