New York’s maximum compensation rate – for temporary total disability and permanent disability – increases effective July 1st to $934.11. The new, higher rate will be in effect until June 30, 2020 and applies to all cases with dates of loss after today (after July 1, 2019). On Monday, July 15th we will be holding a question-and-answer webinar on this change to discuss how this impacts claims and exposures (register here to attend live via webinar at 12PM or 3PM EST).
How is the New York Maximum benefit Rate Calculated?
The maximum weekly benefit rate for workers’ compensation claimants is two-thirds of the New York State average weekly wage for the previous calendar year, as determined by the New York State Department of Labor (Workers’ Compensation Law §§ 2(16);15(6)).
The Department of Labor reported to the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services that the New York State average weekly wage for 2018 was $1,401.17. Accordingly, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $934.11 for compensable lost time for workers’ compensation claims with dates of accident during the period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
This will have an impact on lost-time wage compensation (temporary disability benefits) as well as permanency benefits (both Loss of Wage Earning Capacity and Schedule Loss of Use Awards).
Wage Compensation: Cash Benefits.
Cash benefits are not paid for the first seven days of the disability, unless it extends beyond fourteen days. In that case, the worker may receive cash benefits from the first work day off the job. Rules: Compensation (money allowance – the wage replacement) is not paid to the injured employee for the first seven days of disability. NY WCL § 12. If the disability continues for 15 days or more, the compensation will be paid going back to the first day of time lost. The fourteen lost days do not have to be consecutive. If the disability is for fourteen days or less, then there is no wage replacement for the first seven calendar days, only the eight through fourteen days lost.
Partner Declan Gourley recently won an appeal that defines what a good faith effort and a “meaningful work search” is for a highly-qualified claimant. By winning this appeal, all money benefits were terminated! This decision illustrates the value of a carefully-prepared cross examination when challenging the validity of a work search conducted by the claimant.
The claimant, a registered nurse, sustained a work-related injury while lifting an oxygen tank on November 5, 2012. An IME was conducted by Dr. Pagano, who opined that the claimant had reached MMI and had no more than a mild disability. Dr. Pagano found that the claimant could return to work with a 50-pound lifting restriction. The carrier raised the issue of labor market attachment and directed the claimant to produce evidence of her search for work. At the next hearing, the WCLJ directed the carrier to suspend payments because the claimant did not attend a hearing held and failed to produce the directed work search evidence. Continue reading LOIS Attorneys Prevail on Appeal Regarding Meaningful Job Search→
This is the video from our November 19, 2018 live webinar presented by attorneys John Marzolla and Tim Kane. The experienced workers’ compensation defense attorneys discuss their approaches to evaluating New York workers’ compensation claims for exposure.
The New Jersey Department of Labor has announced that the maximum workers’ temporary disability compensation benefit rate for 2019 will be $921.00 per week and the minimum rate will be $246 per week. These rates take effect for new injuries occurred on or after January 1, 2019. Benefit rates in cases with dates of loss prior to January 1, 2019 do not get this higher rate – New Jersey does not have a cost of living increase for established claims. Continue reading New Jersey Announces 2019 Benefit Rate Change: $921 Per Week→
The New Jersey Workers Compensation Act specifies that in the case of total disability, the petitioner is entitled to payments for a period of up until 450 weeks. See N.J.S.A. 34:15-12(b). If the petitioner perishes as a result of his workers compensation injury, the Act provides us with guidance for the petitioner’s dependents at the time of death. For example, in the case of a surviving spouse, the Act directs us to N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(j), which states that the surviving spouse shall receive payments for the “entire period of survivorship or until such surviving spouse shall remarry.” See N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(j).
In the case of children as dependents, the plain language of N.J.S.A. 34:15-13 tells us that us that they are entitled to payments up until the age of 18, unless they are physically or mentally deficient which would allow them to collect on the “full compensation period of 450 weeks.” See N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(i). The plain meaning of this statue leads one to interpret the language as limiting disabled dependents to 450 weeks of compensation following the death of the petitioner, unless they are a surviving spouse.