New California Workers’ Comp Medical Mileage Rates for 2010

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the standard mileage rate for business miles will decrease from 55¢ per mile to 50¢ per mile as of January 1, 2010. This means that the mileage rate that California workers’ compensation claims administrators pay injured workers for travel related to medical treatment or evaluation of their injuries should be reduced to match the IRS rate. The new rate will apply for travel on or after January 1, 2010, regardless of the date of injury, but claims administrators should continue to pay the 2009 rate of 55¢ per mile for travel from January 1 through December 31, 2009.

State law [Labor Code Section 4600 (e)(2)], in conjunction with Government Code Section 19820 and Department of Personnel Administration regulations, requires claims administrators to reimburse injured workers for such expenses at the rate adopted  by the Director of the Department of Personnel Administration for non-represented (excluded) state employees, which is tied to the Internal Revenue Service published mileage rate. In a December 3 news release, the IRS announced that as of January 1, 2010, the standard mileage rate would decrease to 50 cents per business mile driven. The IRS bases the standard mileage rate on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.

Because of the string of recent mileage rate changes, DWC has posted downloadable mileage-expense forms at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html to show applicable rates based on travel date. A new form with the 2010 rate should be posted shortly. In the meantime, claims organizations may wish to alert their programmers that the rate will fall to 50 cents per mile for travel on or after January 1, 2010.