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Advocates Want Increased Benefits for Permanently Disabled Workers

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Aired 4/19/09

Advocates for injured workers are pushing a measure that would increase benefits to Californians who suffer permanently disabling injuries on the job. Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed similar bills the last two years in a row. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

Since state lawmakers passed some reforms five years ago, workers comp insurance premiums have been cut by more than 50 percent. But so has compensation to workers who've had permanently disabling injuries. The new measure would increase the number of weeks permanently disabled workers could receive benefits.

Sue Borg is president of the California Applicants Attorneys Association . She says insurance companies could afford the extra expense.

Borg: The profits are so high in any reasonable historical sense, that they can absorb an increase in permanent disability as proposed in this bill, without having to increase premiums.

A coalition of insurance companies opposes the measure, saying there should more data collected before making changes.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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