Increase in California Average Weekly Wage to Boost 2013 Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Increase in California Average Weekly Wage to Boost 2013 Workers’ Compensation Benefits

California’s State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) rose more than 5.5% from $1003.55 to $1,059.38 in the 12 months ending March 31, 2012, which according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI), will boost minimum and maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rates for 2013 work injury claims, as well as other workers’ compensation benefits that are tied to changes in the SAWW.

California’s TTD maximum rate for 2012 job injuries is $1010.50 per week, but the CWCI reports that the increase in the SAWW means the TTD rate should rise to $1,066.72 per week for claims with injury dates on or after January 1, 2013. According to the Institute, the minimum weekly TTD rate also is subject to an annual adjustment based on increases in the SAWW, so the minimum rate ($151.57 for 2012 injury claims) should jump to $160 for claims with 2013 dates of injury.  

Effective next January, other workers’ compensation benefits also will be bumped up by the recent increase in the SAWW, including TTD paid 2 years or more after injury, life pension and Permanent Total Disability payments for injuries on or after January 1, 2003, and installment payments on death claims. Underpayment of benefits results in penalties, so CWCI encourages claims administrators to review changes in benefit rates with legal counsel to assure that adjustments are appropriate and accurate. For reference, California’s SAWW for the year ending March 31, 2011 is posted at  http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum11/DataSum_2011_1.pdf  and the SAWW for the year ending March 31, 2012 is at http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum12/DataSum_2012_1.pdf. A CWCI Bulletin with more details is available to Institute members and subscribers at www.cwci.org.

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