Interim Report on Issues Related to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

HRD-81-107: Published: Jun 12, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 1981.

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GAO was asked to evaluate the effects of the 1972 amendments to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) and to review the Department of Labor's administration of this Act.

In its review, GAO found that the 1972 amendments to the LHWCA: (1) increased the number of compensation claims, thereby adversely affecting Labor's ability to carry out its responsibilities for overseeing, monitoring, and adjudicating these claims; (2) established compensation rates which, when combined with monetary benefits from other programs, equal or exceed preinjury take-home pay in some cases; (3) extended coverage to maritime employees who work in areas adjoining navigable waters; and (4) clarified the limits of an employer's future liability in a second injury case by providing for the eventual payment of an employee's benefits from a special fund. In fact, the second injury case claims increased so significantly that some employers and insurers believe that the fund may have difficulty paying future employee benefits. Additionally, GAO found many instances in which Labor's district offices were neither following established procedures nor meeting program standards for processing compensation claims.

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