Recently, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) reported that 2022 job injury claims would see a record increase in temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD) rates. California’s workers’ comp benefits will also increase because of California’s State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) rising more than 13.5% in 2021.
Worker’s compensation and disability benefits should cover a worker’s lost income if they sustain work-related accidents, injuries, or illnesses. Hurt workers need time to heal, but often, benefits are miscalculated, delayed, denied, or terminated before this healing can happen. The Los Angeles workers’ comp attorneys at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry are ready to fight for your entitled benefits.
Changes to the System
According to data from the CWIC and the U.S. Department of Labor, the pandemic caused a huge loss in a disproportionate amount of low-wage, entry-level jobs. To keep workers safe, government assistance and bailouts allowed small businesses to close, taking the lower salaries out of the state’s average-pay-per-worker number.
These phenomena set in motion a drastic increase in the state’s SAWW. As California’s average pay-per-worker increased to represent higher salaries, the state’s workers’ compensation insurance rates and benefits had to increase to represent the average worker’s pay. The SAWW jumped from $1,383 in the first quarter of 2020 to $1,570 in the first quarter of 2022.
Because of this upturn in recorded salaries, California’s workers’ compensation benefit payments will collectively reflect the bump in salaried workers. The current TTD/PTD maximum rate is $1,356.31 per week. This will increase to $1,539.71 per week—a $183.40 bump. This applies to claims with injury dates that fall on or after the first day of 2022.
Increases in SAWW are also tied to the minimum weekly TTD/PTD rates, according to California law. The current $203.44 per week minimum will rise to $230.95 per week for 2022’s injury-dated claims.
The increased SAWW will also result in raised payment sums for other workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits also receiving increases include:
- TTD payments that last more than 24 months
- PTD payments for injuries that happened as early as the start of 2003
- Death claims
- Life pensions
These changes took effect on January 1, 2022. The CWCI strongly suggests that claim administrators examine and understand the changes in benefit rates and review with their legal counsel to ensure proper and accurate payment adjustments. The CWCI makes it clear that penalties will occur if benefits are underpaid.
When should I contact a lawyer?
It is long-standing practice by employers and administrators of workers’ comp and disabilities claims to under-calculate benefits. Among these often-neglected factors are backpay, bonuses, commissions, overtime, and tips.
The Los Angeles workers’ comp attorneys at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry are here to investigate, negotiate and fight for the full amount you are owed. If your claim is denied, we also manage the appeals—cut through the red tape, navigate the proper channels, and recover the compensation you need to get back on your feet.