Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 729
By: Hochberg
Business & Industry


Texas Workers' Compensation Commission rules provide that a benefit check
must be issued in a timely fashion.  H.B. 729 specifies that payment to the
employee must be made by the benefit due date.  This bill provides for
payment by electronic funds transfer, by mail, or by pick up at the
business office.  This bill also requires electronic funds transfer for
payments over an extended period of time, at the employee's option. 

It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Workers' Compensation
Commission in SECTION 1 (Section 409.0231, Labor Code) of this bill. 

SECTION 1.  Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 409, Labor Code, by adding
Sections 409.0231 and 409.0232, as follows: 

Sec.  409.0231.  PAYMENT BY ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER.  Requires insurance
carriers to offer employees entitled to payment of benefits, for a period
of sufficient duration, the option of receiving payments by electronic
funds transfer.  Requires the insurance carrier to provide the necessary
forms to an employee who requests payments by electronic funds transfer.
Requires the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission (commission) to adopt
rules in consultation with the Texas Department of Information Resources as
necessary to implement this section, including rules prescribing a period
of benefits that is of sufficient duration to allow payment by electronic
funds transfer.  

Sec.  409.0232.  TIMELINESS OF PAYMENTS.  Provides that an insurance
carrier is considered to have paid benefits in a timely manner if payment
is made by electronic funds transfer and deposited in the employee's
account by the benefit payment due date, if payment is made by mail and
mailed in time for the payment to be postmarked by the benefit payment due
date, or if payment is made available for the employee to pick up by the
opening of business on the benefit payment due date. 

SECTION 2.  (a) Effective date: September 1, 1999, except that Section
409.0232, Labor Code, as added by this Act, takes effect upon passage. 

(b) Makes application of Section 409.0231 of this Act prospective to
September 1, 2000. 

(c) Requires the commission to adopt the rules required by Section 409.0231
by December 1, 1999. 

SECTION 3.  Emergency clause.