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Press ReleasesOver one million remote hearings held through the NYS Workers' Compensation Board's award-winning virtual hearings system

Press Releases

July 3, 2024

As the Board plans a fall 2024 return to in-person hearings, virtual hearings will remain a convenient option for injured workers and other stakeholders statewide.

Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez and Executive Director Steven Scotti announced that since March 2020, the NYS Workers' Compensation Board has held more than 1,032,500 hearings through its virtual hearings system. This system enables injured workers and other parties to attend Board hearings from the convenience of their homes, workplaces, and other locations, via a computer or mobile device.

Developed in partnership with the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), the Board's virtual hearings system was the first high-definition, all-access system for legal hearings in the nation. It has made hearings much more accessible to injured workers, many of whom have difficulty traveling due to their conditions.

Surpassing one million hearings using this technology is a testament to its success as well as the Board's dedication to ensuring timely, efficient resolution of claims so critical benefits can flow to injured workers.

Although relatively new at the time, virtual hearings played a crucial role in keeping the Board's operations running seamlessly during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many court systems across New York and the rest of the nation were forced to close.

Use of virtual hearings has continued post-pandemic while the Board gears up for a return to in-person hearings (for those who want them) in the fall 2024. Even after Board locations open to the public, virtual hearings will remain an option for injured workers statewide. The increased accessibility they provide has resulted in more injured workers participating in their hearings than ever before.

Board Chair Clarissa Rodriquez said: "What was initially created as an added convenience, became a critical necessity for injured workers and all stakeholders of the New York State workers' compensation system, and has set a new standard for accessibility. I could not be prouder of the Board and ITS for creating an innovative solution that serves the public so well."

Executive Director Steven Scotti said: "Virtual hearings have brought added convenience for injured workers, attorneys, and licensed representatives. This tool helps us to serve hundreds of New Yorkers every day, giving them a way to move their claims forward without having to travel long distances for a hearing that may last only minutes, which is especially helpful for injured workers with the most serious injuries."

Dru Rai, NYS ITS Chief Information Officer and Director said: "ITS was created to provide cutting-edge technology solutions that help state agencies serve New Yorkers in a better, smarter, and more efficient way. We are proud to have partnered with the Workers' Compensation Board to deliver a virtual hearing option that has allowed them to conduct more than one million hearings while ensuring continuity, fairness, and transparency for the people of New York. The most important part of our transformative customer experience agenda is meeting New Yorkers where they are, and this deliverable for the WCB is just one example of how we make IT happen for New York."

The Board first tested virtual hearings in its Albany District Office in November 2017 and rolled them out statewide in 2018. The technology has received many accolades, including winning the 2019 Excellence Award from the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC). More information on virtual hearings, including instructional videos and other training materials, can be found at www.wcb.ny.gov/virtual-hearings.

About the Board

Workers' compensation is insurance that provides lost wage benefits and/or medical care for work-related injuries or illnesses. These benefits are available to every eligible worker in New York State, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The Workers' Compensation Board oversees the administration of workers' compensation, disability benefits, and Paid Family Leave in New York State. Its mission is to protect the rights of employees and employers by ensuring the proper delivery of benefits and by promoting compliance with the law. Learn more at www.wcb.ny.gov.