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Wage-adjusted indemnity benefits have kept up with wage growth for all injury types in most states, the National Council on Compensation Insurance reported in a recent study.
The Boca Raton, Florida-based workers compensation rating agency looked at indemnity benefits in the 36 states where the agency is the approved ratings provider since 2000, finding that when taking out the impact of fixed-dollar or maximum benefits, that indemnity payments have increased in most states, and nearly doubled in some, in the past 19 years.
NCCI studied both nominal changes in average wages across a state and wage-adjusted benefit changes, which includes the impact of fixed-dollar benefits or maximum benefits in workers comp. From January 2000 through 2018, permanent partial disability and total temporary disability benefits amounts increased 50% to 100% in nearly all states, driven largely by increases in wages, said NCCI. PPD benefits increased the most in Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, New Mexico and Texas, and the least in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama, while TTD jumped the most in Texas, Florida, Utah, Oregon and Montana, with the smallest decreases reported in Oklahoma, Indiana and Mississippi.
Using wage adjusted benefit changes to analyze workers comp — which considers legislative changes such as benefit caps, maximum length of benefits for certain injuries or percentage rates of compensation — NCCI found that workers typically saw slightly increased or no change in TTD benefits from 2000 to 2018. However, wage-adjusted indemnity benefits for PPD declined from 2000 to 2018 in a handful of states, with the most substantial declines in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama.
Indemnity, medical and disability claims in New York have remained stable, and more workers are receiving their first indemnity payment within three weeks of an injury, according to a report released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.