California’s State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) rose more than 3.6 percent to $1,206.92 in the year ending March 31, 2017, which the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) notes will boost temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD) rates for 2018 work injury claims and other workers’ comp benefits that are tied to SAWW increases.
Currently, California’s TTD/PTD maximum rate is $1,172.57 per week, but CWCI calculates that the increase in the SAWW reported by the Department of Labor means the maximum will rise to $1,215.27 per week for claims with injury dates on or after January 1, 2018. State law also ties minimum weekly TTD/PTD rates to SAWW increases, so those minimums will rise from the current $175.88 per week to $182.29 for claims with 2018 injury dates. CWCI has confirmed the new TTD/PTD rates for 2018 injury claims with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Beginning next January, other workers’ compensation benefits including TTD paid two years or more after injury, life pension and PTD payments for injuries on or after January 1, 2003, and installment payments on death claims also will increase due to the SAWW increase. 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, the Department of Labor report with California’s SAWW for the year ending 3/31/16 is posted online at workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum16/DataSum_2016_1.pdf and the SAWW for the year ending 3/31/17 is at workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum17/DataSum_2017_1.pdf. A CWCI Bulletin with more details is available to Institute members and subscribers at www.cwci.org..