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What older workers need to know about workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

There’s no question that the American workforce is getting older. As people stay healthy and fit longer, they’re able to work long past the age where our grandparents got their gold watches and moved to a warmer climate.

Many people these days simply can’t afford to retire, while others can’t imagine what they’d do with their time if they did. In 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost a quarter of working Americans were at least 55 years old.

Jobs don’t have to be strenuous to be hard on the body

Many of these workers are in jobs that are physically strenuous, like construction, painting or landscaping. Many more have jobs that may not appear physically demanding but can take a toll on the body – such as standing for hours at a cash register or typing on a computer all day.

Older workers are often more safety-conscious than their younger colleagues. However, if they do suffer an injury, it can be more serious and take longer to heal because of their age. The number of fatal work-related injuries is higher than it’s ever been among people in the 55+ age group.

Don’t hesitate to report a work-related injury

Some older workers are concerned about the consequences of reporting a work-related injury. They may fear it will only confirm the belief by some that they’re too old to be working and that they’ll lose their job. They may think their age will somehow make them ineligible for workers’ compensation.

First, employers can’t legally terminate or otherwise retaliate against a worker for filing a valid workers’ comp claim – or prevent them from filing one. Second, workers’ comp is available for everyone, regardless of age. If a previous injury or pre-existing condition made your current injury worse, that doesn’t prevent you from receiving workers’ comp.

It’s crucial to know and assert your rights. If you’re having difficulty applying for or getting the workers’ compensation benefits to which you’re entitled, having legal guidance can help.