May
23
2012
0

Ever Wonder Where 4.6% Comes From?

Where did this SAWW come from anyhow?

Where did this SAWW come from anyhow?

Even with the recent Baker v. WCAB decision settling when the increase in state average weekly wage (SAWW) is applied, litigation continues over the precise future SAWW percentage to use in a commutation of life pension benefits. The DEU is currently using an assumed annual SAWW increase of 4.6% “based on a 50 year average.” [1]

Before we consider how the DEU calculates future SAWW increases, it is necessary to look back to past SAWW changes.  In the last 50 years there have been only two instances where the SAWW has decreased from the prior year.  Since Labor Code Sections 4659(c) and 4453(a)(10) only apply increases in the SAWW to life pensions and permanent total disability benefits, there is no effect on the benefit rates for those two years.

When the DEU indicates a historical 50-year average of SAWW increases, they mean exactly that.  Thus, instead of averaging the decreases in the SAWW with the increases, the DEU averages only the increases of the historical SAWW data.  (I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up – 2004 and 2011 are the only instances in the last 50 years of any reduction in the state average weekly wage).  An average of just the SAWW increases over the last 50 years does come to 4.6%.

If you’re interested in verifying this information for yourself, I’ve prepared a list of the data used by the DEU in computing the 50-year average of SAWW increases.

  1. Andrea Marutti via Compfight []
Dec
06
2009
1

Duncan (SIF) v. WCAB (X.S.) – Life Pension, SAWW, COLA, and a partridge in a pear tree

It looks like someone took a SAWW to that COLA

It looks like someone took a SAWW to that COLA!!!

You’re probably just here to download the latest workers’ compensation case about the Cost of Living Adjustment and State Average Weekly Wage increases. [1][2] I’m not going to hold you in suspense – here’s the download link:

John Duncan (Subsequent Injuries Benefit Trust Fund) v. WCAB (X.S.), (W.C.A.B. No. ADJ1510738 / SJO0251902) Writ of Review 11/25/2009

Obviously, you need to read the entire decision for yourself.  Here’s my oversimplification of the case:

Whenever the injured worker is due life pension payments for injuries on or after 1/1/2003, you calculate those benefits, whenever they are due, by increasing them according to the yearly increases in the state average weekly wage starting on 1/1/2004.

If some of this seems familiar, its because this is the same case as XYZZXSJO2 which came out back in February 2009.   I had suggested back in February that the effect of the COLA increases on life pension payments today would be to increase them some 44% or so.

Still having trouble understanding the impact of this case?  Well, you could try my XYZZXSJO2 calculator to tell you what the life pension rate should be during a given year.  (Remember, this just tells you the rate – it is not a commutation calculator.  These are still in the works).

What are your thoughts on Duncan v. WCAB?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79874304@N00/386160373/
  1. Photo courtesy of Sister72 []
  2. I refuse to apologize for that pun. []
Mar
06
2009
1

Ready for testing: Future Life Pension Rate with SAWW/COLA

XYZZXSJO2 - The motion picture!

XYZZXSJO2 - The sequel!

Last week I posted about a recent case from the San Jose WCAB that indicated a life pension SAWW[1] increase is applied on the first January 1 after the date of injury.  You can find a download of the XYZZXSJO2 case here.

I’ve just finished the COLA / SAWW future life pension rate calculator to determine what the future life pension rates are assuming a COLA / SAWW increase of 4.7% per year.  If you’re interested in becoming a beta tester for this COLA / SAWW calculator for life pension increases, please drop me a line and ask for access. [2]

Please keep in mind that this is not a life pension with SAWW / COLA increase commutation calculator.  The actuarial math involved in performing that calculation is … intense.

As an interesting side note, this week I saw my very first DEU commutation of a life pension with COLA increase.  Unlike the typical commutations everyone receives from the DEU, this commutation calculation was devoid of the actual methodology used.  I was pretty disappointed to find this out.

No matter!  Help beta test the new calculator by dropping me a line.  After you’ve given it a whirl, let me know what you think.

  1. SAWW means State Average Weekly Wage []
  2. If you have already helped me out as a beta tester, you already have access to this calculator. []
Sep
03
2008
1

New Retroactive Benefits Calculator Launched!!!

Google

Google

Google has a saying, “launch early and iterate.”  Launch your idea, get feedback, make it better, keep doing it! As a friend of mine has delicately suggested, I’m no Google.  This doesn’t mean I can’t learn from Google, right?

Two of the calculators I’ve been developing are a commutation calculator (for pre-1/1/2003 injuries) and a retroactive benefits calculator.  I’ll discuss the commutation calculators more closer to their launch.

However, today is the day I’m publicly launching my Retroactive Benefits calculator!  Its fairly straight-forward.  You tell it the weekly rate, start date, end date, payment date, and an interest rate.  It tells you how many days, how much is due, how many days the benefit was delayed, and how much is due with interest.

Take a look, play around with it, let me know what you think.  Drop me a line or post a comment.

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