March 1, 2024

Maine Senate gives initial approval to Nangle bill to study Workers’ Compensation benefits

AUGUSTA – Members of the Maine Senate voted to advance LD 1896, "An Act to Index Workers' Compensation Benefits to the Rate of Inflation,” a bill introduced by Sen. Tim Nangle, D-Windham, that would direct a thorough analysis of Maine's Workers' Compensation benefits landscape.

State Senator Tim Nangle
"The goal of LD 1896 is to ensure that our injured workers receive fair and adequate compensation that keeps pace with the cost of living," Nangle said. "This bill is critical to giving the Workers' Compensation Board the tools they need to collect and analyze data and help us understand how to improve benefits for injured workers."

The bill, which initially started as a proposal to index workers' compensation benefits to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), evolved through collaboration with Sen. Nangle and stakeholders, including the Workers' Compensation Board and insurance companies. As amended, the bill will direct a comprehensive study and data collection process.

The Workers' Compensation Board will gather important information about workers' compensation benefits, such as:
How much workers were earning on average.
The rates of compensation they receive.
The number of weeks they received benefits for total incapacity, partial incapacity, and death.
Details about their last payment and ongoing payments.
The total amount of benefits paid to them.

Additionally, the Board will assess the accuracy of this data, compare benefit amounts to the cost of living, and consider the costs of updating and implementing adjustments to ensure fair compensation for injured workers.

The Workers' Compensation Board will provide monthly updates to the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing. The final report — detailing findings, recommendations, and suggested legislation is due no later than Aug. 16, 2025, providing a comprehensive overview of the analysis conducted and proposed improvements to workers' compensation benefits.

The study will be conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Board within existing resources and will not expend any General Fund revenues.

LD 1896 now faces additional votes in the Maine Senate and the Maine House. <

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