California’s State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) climbed just under 2.666% from $1,067.25 to $1,095.70 in the 12 months ending March 31, 2014, which the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) notes will push the maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rate for 2015 job injuries to more than $1,100 a week and boost other workers’ comp benefits that are tied to changes in the SAWW as well.
California’s current maximum TTD rate is $1,074.64 per week for 2014 job injuries, but under state law the increase in the SAWW will boost the weekly maximum to $1,103.29 for claims with injury dates on or after January 1, 2015. The minimum weekly TTD rate is also tied to increases in the SAWW, so CWCI calculates that the minimum will rise from the current $161.19 to $165.49 for claims with 2015 injury dates. The Institute has confirmed both the minimum and maximum TTD rates for 2015 injury claims with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Other benefits that will be bumped up by the SAWW increase include TTD paid 2 years or more after injury, life pension and Permanent Total Disability payments for injuries on or after January 1, 2003, and death claim installment payments. 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 from the first quarter of 2013 is at https://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum13/DataSum_2013_1.pdf and the SAWW for the first quarter of 2014 will be posted next week at https://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum14/DataSum_2014_1.pdf. A CWCI Bulletin with more details is available to Institute members and subscribers who log in at http://www.cwci.org/.