The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act guarantees workers’ compensation insurance for all injured employees. This mandatory insurance program also protects older workers who suffer from workplace illnesses and injuries. They are more likely to have to file claims for long-term coverage.
The increased risks to older workers
Workers from the ages of 55 to 64 are twice as likely to become injured or sick on the job. They have the highest rates of workplace injuries or illnesses of any age group. Many seniors have one or two major underlying health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes or obesity, that may cause daily symptoms. As they work, they experience fatigue, weakness or a loss of concentration that increases their risks of injury. In addition, seniors with weakened immune or respiratory systems are more likely to develop illnesses after using hazardous chemicals or inhaling toxins at work.
Workers’ compensation options
Workers’ compensation laws are related more to illness or injury than age, but aggravations of pre-existing conditions are still injuries for purposes of workers’ comp in PA. The main consideration is the severity of the workplace injury, and whether it causes wage loss or the need for medical treatment. Workers’ compensation is available to Pennsylvania workers for as long as they require medical treatment, even if they have no wage loss. Once an injured worker’s claim is accepted, he or she loses benefits only once a judge finds him or her to be fully recovered. In addition, workers are able to receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) with their workers’ comp payments, although the interplay between the two benefits can be complicated and should be discussed with an attorney.
Workers’ comp coverage for older populations
Even with the same amount of precautions, workers who are 55 years or older experience the highest rates of workplace accidents and injuries. Compared to their younger workers, they are more likely to incur life-threatening or even fatal illnesses. Senior workers need to be the most eligible group to file for workers’ compensation claims. Anyone with questions about an older worker’s potential or actual work injury should contact an experienced certified workers’ comp specialist in Pennsylvania to help them navigate the twists and turns of the system.