Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Maximum rates and the caps
The Division of Workers Compensation has just posted the rates for maximum benefits and related math calculations. For example they indicate that as of January 1, 2012 the caps are to be $76605.00 and $153210.00. Maximum rates are usually related to your average weekly wage not to the severity of your injury. Those with a workers compensation injury are paid two thirds of their average weekly wage for temporary benefits in the majority of times. There are exceptions that can lower this amount and there are occasions when the average weekly wage should be adjusted higher. If you are a claimant never assume the figure your employer or its insurer says is your wage. Never assume they are right no matter what is told you. If you are an employer or insurer never assume the figure provided by a boss is correct. A wage calculation is not a simple matter and there can be many variables that affect the calculation. However the fact you sustained a horrific injury is not going to affect the math. It is based on the math and when in doubt is determined by a judge when someone takes it to a hearing. In a typical situation the injured worker receives two thirds of his average weekly wage during the time he is temporarily disabled which s adjusted if you work part time. If a claimant returns to work full time temporary benefits stop. Such benefits can stop for other reasons as well as provided by law. You can review that with your attorney or seek help from the Division to understand it. Customer Service phone is (303) 318-8700. Please note the two thirds figure has not been considered taxable but it is not the same as your paycheck amount. It is what it is as set forth by law. But each year there can be adjustments and that is what has been done and posted at the Division today. Caps are amounts that place a limit on your compensation. They do not apply to medical benefits which are not capped (at least not yet) and they do not apply to those permanently and totally disabled. But if you are drawing temporary benefits and then entitled to permanent benefits those amounts can be capped when added up. Temporary benefits alone are not capped but if added to permanent benefits the law can apply a cap. Regretably this is a tough matter for claimants but the state has decided through its elected representatives to place limits in certain areas. In a sense most insurance policies have limits and workers compensation is no different.