First responders oppose cap on worker compensation

First responders oppose cap on worker compensation
The Kentucky State Capitol (Source: Dale Mader/WAVE 3 News)
Former LMPD officer Connie Higgins was shot in the face by a suspect in 1984. She is against this bill. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Former LMPD officer Connie Higgins was shot in the face by a suspect in 1984. She is against this bill. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY  (WAVE) - Opponents to a proposed change in Kentucky's worker compensation law say an attempt to cap benefits would further burden injured workers, particularly first responders.

The bill seeks to impose a 15 year cap on worker comp benefits if the person receiving the benefits is able to return to work. Workers would be required to appeal every two years to maintain their benefits.

Former Louisville Police officer Connie Higgins was shot in the face by a gunman in 1984 and argues the 15 year cap would have been too restrictive for her.  Higgins was able to continue to work for years after her injuries but eventually was overcome by PTSD.

"With this cap, I wouldn't be here," Higgins said. "I would have been gone 20 years ago."

The bill faces opposition from labor groups and the state Fraternal Order of Police.

"Profit's not a dirty word, but you know what is? Greed's a dirty word," FOP representative Skylar Graudick said. "And it's especially greedy when you try to make more money in the system by balancing it on the backs of our first responders and people who really need their medicine."

Representative Adam Koenig, (R) House District 69, said the bill is an attempt to modernize the state's worker compensation system. He said the 15 year cap will not affect those who are permanently disabled.

"Understand if someone has a permanent disability or permanent injury and unable to work, this bill will not affect them," Koenig said. "They will receive lifetime medical benefits as they should."

Koenig said his bill could come up for debate in the House next week.

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