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Maryland treasurer taking heat for workers’ compensation fund

Maryland treasurer, Nancy Kopp, has recently come under fire after auditors found problems with how her department's handling workers compensation insurance payments and claims. The Office of Legislative Audits reviewed how the Maryland State Treasurer's Office was handling state employees' workers compensation claims and found $268 million in discrepancies.

According to the OLA, the treasurer's office failed to verify payments to the Injured Workers Insurance Fund. The OLA also says the treasurer's office didn't do enough to assess the claims made by workers in an effort to reduce Maryland's workers' comp losses. These include things like modernizing the internal controls of cash disbursements, and discrepancies regarding transfers of interest earnings.

In defense of her department, the treasurer says that many of the problems identified by the OLA are not within her scope of authority to fix. She says that policy decisions need to be worked out by the General Assembly and then sent to the Board of Public Works. The treasurer says that her position is largely as an administrator of a public fund. She has since requested more staff to be added to her department by the Board of Public Works so that she has the ability to negotiate a new contract and payment structure.

Regardless of how things happen at the Statehouse in Annapolis, Maryland, workers still have a right to receive adequate compensation for work-related injuries. If you have been injured through toxic exposure, crush injuries or just about any workplace accident, you may be eligible for certain medical expenses, rehabilitation and other programs designed to improve your health.

Sometimes, the workers' compensation process can be difficult to navigate. For example, an insurance carrier for your employer may seek to deny you proper payments. They may decide that you were an independent contractor rather than an employee. Still, others may seek to deny you on the basis that your claim is actually the result of a pre-existing injury. In these types of situations, the assistance of someone practicing in the field of workers compensation law can be especially helpful.

Source: Maryland Reporter.com, "Md. treasurer, auditors continue wrangling over how to handle worker compensation insurance" Charlie Hayward, Aug. 14, 2014

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