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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Workers' Comp Reform Ignores Hurt Employee

September 20, 2004

Re "Worker Comp Fix in Doubt," Sept. 15: The battle for workers' compensation reform seems to focus on businesses saving money; no one wants to focus on the injured worker. Because I've been on workers' compensation since March 2003, I am soon to become homeless, not to mention my mounting debt. My case was denied, as almost all cases are, and has not yet been settled because it's complicated.

I received state disability insurance benefits for one year, until March of this year.

Since then I have received no income of any kind. My small savings are gone, and I was forced to join the welfare ranks in August in order to keep eating. My benefits are $221 a month, plus $141 in food stamps. My rent alone is more than twice that, and to my horror I've been told there are no social programs in place to help me pay the rent. Because I cannot pay the rent, my landlord has asked me to leave.

I have paid into the "system" for 40 years. Now, when I need help, there's nothing there. An injured worker should not be rendered homeless, but very shortly that is where I will be.

Marilyn Pesola

North Hollywood

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It should be noted that recent workers' compensation legislation involves a "take-away" of many benefits from injured workers, including the right to be treated by a physician of one's choice, and the reduction in permanent disability benefits of an estimated 30% to 50%.

It is truly amazing that the insurance carriers are now unwilling to pass these windfall savings on to employers, and one must draw his own conclusions as to the reason.

Earl M. Hyman

Attorney, Torrance

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