01/02/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

State Shortchanged Hurt Workers For 30 Years

Oops! The state unit that handles compensation claims for injured workers has concluded that Illinois short-changed at least some beneficiaries and their heirs, and that it did so for as long as a stunning 30 years.

Neither the Workers' Compensation Commission nor anyone else in state government is yet saying how much the snafu might cost Illinois employers, who will have to make up any shortfall. But the money apparently is owed, and industry sources say the final tab could top $100 million.

Word of the potentially very expensive mistake surfaced the day before Thanksgiving when Susan Piha, the commission's manager of research and education, emailed a variety of interested parties to inform them that the commission "is searching for lost beneficiaries" to its rate-adjustment fund.

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