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
17
2009
0

500 Registered Users!

Indy 500

Indy 500

Wow!  500 registered users!

Last month I mentioned that this website had a record number of new visitors.  I honestly thought that was an anomalous one day spike in traffic.  Instead we’ve had a sustained increase in new visitors and people signing up to use the workers’ compensation calculators for free.

Since February 13, 2009[1] I’ve enjoyed posting about:

Ever since I relaunched this website I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind that getting to 500 users would be a big deal.  There are literally hundreds of workers’ compensation professionals who rely on this website and its calculators to make their lives a little easier.  This certainly feels like a big deal to me.

  1. When the 400th user registered. []
  2. I am keeping this calculator in beta testing until I get a little more feedback.  If you want to try it out, just drop me a line! []
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. []
Feb
25
2009
2

XYZZXSJO2 – COLA and SAWW Increase Starts After the Date of Injury

XYZZXSJO2 - The motion picture!

XYZZXSJO2 - The motion picture!

Last week while Steve was at the Sacramento WCAB he heard about a recent case that held the COLA / SAWW adjustments and increases are calculated based upon the first January 1 following the date of injury. [1][2]

This case involving SIF (the subsequent injuries fund) is from the San Jose WCAB.  The name of the case is “XYZZXSJO2 v. Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund, ADJ 1510738, SJO 0251902”.  The name of the Applicant was anonymized to protect their identity.  [3][4]

Download a copy of XYZZXSJO2 now!

Thus far the conventional wisdom has been that the COLA/SAWW increases are calculated starting with the first January 1 after life pension gets paid out.  This is a tremendous change in the COLA/SAWW calculation of life pension.

Assuming a 1/1/2003 injury at exactly 70% permanent partial disability, there would be 426.5 weeks of permanent disability paid after the permanent and stationary date before the life pension gets paid out.  This equates to 8.2 years from the permanent and stationary date that has, thus far, not been taken into account with life pension calculations to date.  To put this in perspective, if someone had an injury on 1/1/2003 and became P&S on that same date[5] , the traditional method of calculating the life pension with COLA / SAWW increase would be too low by approximately 44%.

At the moment I’m finalizing a COLA / SAWW life pension 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.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a citation for the 4.7% COLA / SAWW increase, but I believe it to be the offiical average used by the DEU[6] to calculate commutations of COLA / SAWW increases and adjustments.  If you have an official citation or document from the DEU, please drop me a line so I can include that citation here!

  1. COLA = cost of living adjustment. []
  2. SAWW = state average weekly wage. []
  3. I hope to have a scan of this decision for you soon! []
  4. David DePaolo of WorkCompCentral.com has graciously allowed me permission to offer you a copy of XYZZXSJO2 for download!  Thanks David! []
  5. Not likely. []
  6. Disaiblity Evaluation Unit. []

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