When an employee has acquired an injury or work-related illness and has accepted their workers’ compensation claim, they may receive temporary disability benefits when they cannot work while recovering from their injury or illness. Temporary disability payments are calculated at 2/3 of an employee’s weekly earnings up to a specific statutory amount. This statutory amount changes yearly based on cost-of-living adjustments. Several factors determine temporary disability payments. California Labor Code section 4453 requires that the total temporary disability rate rise by an amount comparable to the percentage increase in the state average weekly wage (SAWW) as correlated to the previous year. The SAWW, or the state average weekly wage, is the amount paid out to employees in California covered by unemployment insurance for the 12 months ending March 31, the year before the injury, as described by the U.S. Department of Labor.
In the twelve months ending March 31, the State Average Weekly Wage has increased to $1,570 from $1,383, an increase of over 13.52%.
Under Labor Code section 4659, workers with a time of injury on or following January 1, 2003, receiving life pensions or permanent total disability benefits are also qualified to have their weekly life pensions or permanent real disability rate adjusted based on the state average weekly wage.
What Does This Rate Increase Mean for Workers?
This change in state average weekly wage means that the total paid benefit rate for those who have filed a workers’ compensation claim may be greater than the year prior due to cost of living adjustments. These cost-of-living adjustments can be based on factors such as food prices, rising inflation, housing costs, etc. However, these paid benefit amount increases may only apply to those who qualified for life pensions, permanent total disability, and total temporary disability benefits.
Suppose you have acquired an injury while working and have difficulty filing a workers’ compensation claim due to a lack of cooperation by your employer or your insurer. You should be able to seek legal consultation with a qualified team of workers’ compensation attorneys. At Stockton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, P.C., our team of expert workers’ compensation attorneys in Stockton has over 60 years of combined experience handling workers’ compensation cases. If you would like to speak with an attorney and take advantage of your free no-obligation consultation, please call us at (209) 323-5126 or visit our website to chat directly with an attorney.