Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Poverty among injured workers

The journal Critical Public Health has released a new article out of Ontario entitled “Poverty status of worker compensation claimants with permanent impairments.” This article looked at injured workers with permanent impairments (about 6% of all WCB claimants) 52 months after the date of injury to assess their proximity to and depth of poverty.

The upshot is that injured workers has poverty rates between 17 and 26%, which is appreciably higher than the general population and approximately the same as poverty rates among working age adults with disabilities. The data does not allow the researchers to conclude that being inured causes poverty. But the data does show lower incomes and a higher rate of poverty after an injury (particularly for those workers with low incomes before the injury).

The discussion of return-to-work programming and the practice of reducing the compensation payments to those injured workers who have completed retraining (“deeming”) regardless of whether or not they have work is particularly interesting, as is the family effect of post-injury poverty.

-- Bob Barnetson

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