What he said

I was not prepared for the number of emails, phone calls, and texts from people asking me about the calculators.

While I’m still tinkering with some parts, the two calculators that people use the most, the permanent disability rating and the dollar value calculators, are both available. The rest will be back soon. :)

The Great Seal of California
The Great Seal of California

As you are probably aware there have been a number of changes to workers’ compensation benefit rates lately.  The Administrative Director issued the latest temporary disability maximum and minimum rates based upon the most recent increases in the state average weekly wage.  These rate changes effect temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, death benefits, and permanent total disability benefits.

More interestingly, the legislature brought several reform changes with SB 863 to California workers’ compensation benefits late on Friday August 31, 2012.  If you check out the updated Labor Code Section 4453, you’ll notice there is a new maximum permanent partial disability rate for the highest levels of permanent disability for dates of injury after 1/1/2013.  And, reviewing Labor Code Section 4658, you’ll see the 15% adjustments have been removed for dates of injury after 1/1/2013.

All of the website’s calculators have been updated to reflect these latest changes!  Enjoy!

Don't calculate COLA's the hard way!
Don't calculate COLA's the hard way!

I’m happy to announce the single most-requested service for this website – a COLA SAWW commutation reports1 This calculator provides professional quality PDF’s using the same familiar format as the Disability Evaluation Unit.  Now you don’t have to wait for the DEU and you don’t have to tip your hand to the opposing side about what you think the case might be worth.

Download a sample report right now to see the kind of detailed commutation reports that get cases resolved.  These COLA commutation reports are delivered instantly to your e-mail.  You can customize the report with everything you want – from a State Average Weekly Wage increase percentage of your choosing, to attorney fee percentage, and whether a Labor Code Section 4658(d) increase is applicable.

And, best of all, when you purchase one of these reports for $197.00 ($147.00 for PDRater sponsored users!) it comes with unlimited FREE additional reports on the same case.  (Don’t worry – it doesn’t cost anything to play with the calculator). Whether you need to change the permanent disability rate, SAWW increase percentage, or just want a fresh report with a new commutation date – every single report on the same case will be delivered to you instantly and for free.

Here’s an example of how quickly you can a COLA SAWW commutation report on your case right now:

Try out the COLA SAWW commutation calculator out for yourself!

  1. Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver via Compfight []

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 []