Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Effective July 1, 2009 Maximum Rates

Just posted over at the Division of Workers Compensation website is a chart that sets forth the top dollars paid out on benefits. For example, the most you can receive in weekly temporary benefits is $807.24 and that only happens if you were making $1210.86 a week in wages or more. Few injured workers ever will be paid at that rate and if not they can be paid 2/3rds of what is determined to be their average weekly wage. Historically you do not pay taxes on the standard workers comp benefits so 2/3rds is close to your take home pay when you cannot return to work. Of course to obtain any benefits they must admit you were hurt on the job and are entitled to temporary total benefits. If your case is contested then as long as it is you are not paid such benefits. Moreover even if you are entitled to temporary benefits they will adjust them if they have you working part time. There are rules on all this but this post just lets you see what the top dollar figures can be. The rates are set each year and made effective every July 1st.


Anonymous said...

This statute is very confusing.

There a many people in this state that make much more than $1210.86 per week. Employees, Employers, Officers of Corporations. If they are injured on the job, & are only receiving a maximum of $807.24, per week--this could easily spell financial disaster for them, while they are in recovery.

Does the State of Colorado then use the 2/3's of income to determine an average weekly wage on these people?

Thanks for all replies.

Richard E. Falcone, Esq. said...

The maximum rates are all that will be paid. It is important to understand that workers compensation is an insurance. Benefits are set by the specific statutes passed by the Colorado legislature. Like any insurance it covers what the policy says is covered and in workers comp the statute is the policy. That means the wage loss benefits are limited. If there is concern that it is inadequate because you make more then the top amounts then perhaps it may be wise to look into a separate individual disability or accident insurance policy. Regretably workers comp does not cover all income losses although you can urge your state legislators to increase the top figures. Anyone making more then $1210.86 gross a week is limited to $807.24 at least until it is changed next year. Having said that be aware that on the medical side the amounts are not limited for injuries or diseases that are work related except as set forth by law. If the necessary medical expenses are related and also reasonable the insurer may have to pay 100% no matter how high the amount or for how long. This can mean lifetime medical expenses in some cases.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the information.

It just seems odd to me that they base the premium amount on gross wages--but then in turn cap the amount of temporary benefits while someone is recovering from an injury?

Being an employer we have employees that make more than $1200per week, & we also cover ourselves as owners of an s-corporation--& we make considerably more than that.

Richard E. Falcone, Esq. said...

The highest temporary benefit is $807.24 per week at least as of the current year. It has been adjusted yearly. It is however tax free so it is close to take home pay. There is usually nothing to stop an employer from paying an injured worker at a higher rate or from accomodating the injured worker at full pay. Employers should check with their carriers on doing this and how it affects the claim process.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for your comment. But I believe the state statue permits WC to lessen the amount of AWW liability if the injured worker has a separate disability policy?

Again, my point being that as an employer we are required by law to carry workman's compensation. The paper policy itself does not indicate the amount of cap on temporary AWW benefits--leaving the employer & employee without prior knowledge of what that will be. It has to be investigated through an internet source. It also does not suggest in the wc policy that if the covered worker makes a substantial amount of money--over $1200.00 per week--that they should obtain an additional disability--in which wc deducts their liability from that amount also.

I truly understand the need for WC to regulate for fraud--but the truly injured higher wage employee has been left out on a limb regarding AWW while they are recovering to get back to work.

Richard E. Falcone, Esq. said...

Colorado Revised Statutes 8-42-103 can apply whenever we discuss offsets to workers comp benefits. They apply offsets if you are getting Social Security or disability/retirement benefits through the employer. They do not apply to individual disability policies the employee may have on his own. However that carrier may in turn offset so it can be confusing. I have seen people collecting both but it is a matter for check into further. As for your comment on leaving people out on a limb...that is so unless change comes through the legislature.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.

The problem with most standard disability providers is that in most instances--they will ask if the cause of the disability was work related. If yes--they refer the injured worker right back to workman's compensation. Then workman's compensation asks if the injured worker has a private disability policy--in so much as they can reduce their liability to the injured.

It turns out to be a catch all for insurance company profits--while leaving the higher income injured worker at substantial financial risk.

Dramatic changes in Colorado State statutes are the only remedy.