Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Uncompensated Californians

The third in a series, WorkCompCentral's latest special report on benefit adequacy, specifically temporary disability indemnity, takes a look at California.

This is, of course, of particular interest to me. I'm from California and as much as the state is denigrated by the rest of the workers' compensation community, it's temporary disability benefit is one of the most generous - perhaps because the cost of living in the Golden State is one of the highest.

It didn't use to be that way. For many years the TTD rate was stuck at abysmally low, static levels. The statute (LC 4453) was changed so that, beginning in 2004, the TTD rate would be tied to inflation as represented by the State Average Weekly Wage as determined by the Federal Department of Labor. Since then the SAWW has inflated 69%...

Still, even tied to inflation, what really happens when someone has a work injury and is off work for a protracted period? The statute, like many states, limits TTD to 2/3rds the employee's wages, subject to a ceiling, and with a maximum duration.

But California is a bit more liberal in terms of waiting periods - only 3 days of total disability before the benefit kicks in, and then retroactive to the first day of disability if more than 14 days pass. Most states have a 7 day waiting period and retroactivity doesn't occur unless more than 30 days pass without employment.

Our study examines two workers diametrically opposed in the employment sector - a farm worker who gets injured on the job, and the physical therapist assigned his case; a low wage earner and a high wage earner. As you will note from the report, neither are adequately protected by California's TTD law, and both suffer long term financial consequences far beyond the direct injury sequelae.

While you should read the report, and draw your own conclusions, here are the basics:

Jose, the farm worker, sustained an actual net loss in take home pay of 16% - nearly a fifth of his normal net pay. To a person living paycheck to paycheck, i.e. essentially on the edge, 16% is a big number, particularly if your average pay is only $21,900 per year...

Jose had to forgo savings, had to forgo support to his family in Mexico, and ends up having to rely on the generosity of his roommate to overcompensate for his financial detriment.

Worse, Jose no longer contributes to the economy, and comes out of workers' compensation a public benefit dependent.

One might think things would be different for Mike, Jose's physical therapist.

Mike's average annual wages are decidedly upper middle class at around $100,000. But kids to put through school, a mortgage, car payments, and the basics of a middle income lifestyle doen't leave a whole lot of room for a dark day, even with savings.

Mike's budget was $5,769 per month. The adjuster couldn't figure out the TTD rate because she was confused how to calculate wages when pay is based on case load (to me that's shocking and, frankly, completely unacceptable - it's a very easy calculation...) so she just didn't pay (again, completely shocking and unacceptable) and then when she did pay the amount was wrong.

But even after Mike got an attorney who was able to "school" the adjuster on how to calculate the TTD rate, that rate is capped far below Mike's needs. Indeed, because of the adjuster's error Mike had to tap his 401K and, if not repaid timely, will suffer additional economic harm.

These Special Reports are not intended to advocate for reform one way or the other, or to cast aspersion on the workers' compensation system - rather they are intended to highlight issues that we, as a society, need to take a serious look at.

I observed yesterday that perhaps the workers' compensation insurance industry's steadfast battle for work safety may, in the end, foster the irrelevancy of such insurance for the vast majority of industries and employers.

There's a palpable tension in workers' compensation that's more acute than it has been in some time.

The WorkCompCentral reports on benefit adequacy compel, I think, reviewing the basic social policies that created workers' compensation in the first place.

It comes down to value. If employers are paying too much for too little, will the industry survive? If enough people suffer financial harm from a privatized social benefit system that is inadequate, is there reason to keep it in place?

We, as an industry responsible to society, have some soul searching to do.

The Uncompensated Worker series, along with all other WorkCompCentral special reports, can be downloaded at https://www.workcompcentral.com/news/special-reports/. The reports are free, though you will need to register to retrieve the reports, unless you are already logged in as a member.

11 comments:

  1. Your "meet Jose & Mike" ad doesn't go to anything but an image.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. click on the many links in the body of the post, or at the end. the pic is not linked...

      Delete
  2. We, as an industry responsible to society, have some soul searching to do.

    And that goes for the entire Country, not just CA. Here in WA State, we have great benefits, but it's accessing them that is the problem.

    We also have corporations working for the Federal Government that are writing unsafe working conditions right into the contracts. And bullying Union workers into accepting unsafe working conditions, or lose their contracts for any further jobs.

    The employer's (Private) getting Federal contracts, then blackballing unions into accepting unsafe working conditions. And then when the workers are getting injured our workers comp systems, both State and Federal, here in WA State fight the injured workers tooth and nail, from having their OJI's covered.

    This is a war on workers safety and on injured workers, all for private enterprise to profit off the abuse of humans in our World. just not cool.

    Take a look at these 2 news reports that paint a really ugly picture as to what happening to workers at Hanford, and it's not just at Hanford, but happening to workers all across this Country and around the World. Profits before people. SAD. Thanks for another great report.

    View these two reports back to back and be amazed by what's really going on.

    Hanford union blackballed for insisting on safety
    http://www.king5.com/news/local/investigations/hanford-union-blackballed-for-insisting-on-safety-1/265501688

    Injured Hanford Workers Denied Disability Claims
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6fLcMX5_f4

    Our leaders in WA State, and on a Federal Level, really need to step up and address and fix this abuse to humans for profit. ASAP!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hotels in hyderabad near airport
    Thanks for this one I want to read of your more articles every time. So please try to send me yours articles to me .I will wait for your articles for reading purpose. I am so excited to read your articles without any incontinence and i am reday to give 99% ratings to your articles.
    hotels in hyderabad near airport

    ReplyDelete
  4. لا داعي للقلق عزيزى العميل شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة لديها كافة المعدات والأجهزة الحديثة التي تخلصك من بقايا الدهانات والأوساخ
    شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة
    سوف تحصل على منزل نظيف ومرتب بشكل أفضل من أي وقت سابق. شركة تنظيف بالمدينه المنوره لديها دراية كاملة للتعامل مع جميع الغرف والمطابخ والحمامات والممرات فكل ما تحتاجه من أدوات وطرق لجعلك المنزل أو الفيلا الخاصه بك نظيفة شركة نظافة بالمدينة المنورة سوف توفره لك عزيزى العميل على أكمل وجه ممكن. شركه تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة لديها عمال وفنيين وخبراء محترفين يمتلكون خبرات مختلفة ونقدم أيضا لك عميل شركتنا العزيز تنظيف لواجهات الشركات والفنادق والفلل. فكل ما تحتاجه من معدات واجهزة حديثة ومنظفات ذات جودة عالمية عالية موجودة لدى شركه تنظيف بالمدينه المنوره فنحن نسعى دائما وفقط لإرضاء عملاء شركتنا أولاً واخيراً كونوا على ثقة بان شركتنا تعد هى الافضل على الاطلاق بين الشركات الاخرى المنافسه فى مجال التنظيف شركات تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة تعتمد على اقوى الكوادر البشرية الاكثر كفاءة بالسعودية وتستخدم اقوى واحدث المعدات اللازمة
    شركة تنظيف بالمدينه المنوره
    للمهام المنزلية فضلا عن اعتماد افضل شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة على اقوى مواد التنظيف المستوردة من الخارج والعالية الجودة فضلا عن ان شركة تنظيف توفر لكافة عملاؤها كافة اساليب الضمان واساليب الصيانه من خلال اقوى برامج المتابعه الدورية للحصول على افضل خدمات نظافة على اعلى مستوى.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is really nice to read content of this blog. A is very extensive and vast knowledgeable platform has been given by this blog. I really appreciate this blog to has such kind of educational knowledge
    CPC Certification

    ReplyDelete

  6. Dear customer All of us suffer from problems at home difficult to solve and may pose a great danger to your life and life of those you love such as harmful insects dangerous, which threaten human life and the transmission of diseases and cause a lot of physical problems So provided theAl Manarah Company has all kinds of insects
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف سجاد بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بارياض
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف مكيفات بالرياض

    ReplyDelete
  7. شركة رش مبيدات بالخبر
    شركة رش مبيدات بالقطيف
    شركة المناره تمتلك عمالة محترفة لتنظيف وتعقيم خزانات المياه بجميع انواع سواء بلاستيك او خراسنية
    عميلي العزيز تقدم لقم شركه المنارة انضف تنظيف الخزنات المياه با دمام
    في هي شركه المنارة تقوم بي عمل مميز بل اخر
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالخبر
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالقطيف
    عزيزي العميل نعلم ان وقتك ثمين فنقدم لك افضل شركة تنظيف
    خدمات التنظيف من الخدمات المهمة التي يجب القيام بها من حين لاخر
    نقوم بتنظيف الشقق والفلل والمنازل
    بافضل الادوات والاجهزة الحديثة
    نقوم بتنظيف المجالس والموكيت والستائر وجميع المفروشات
    تقدم لقم شركه المنارة العرود القوي ول مل المميز
    شركة تنظيف بالخبر
    شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
    عزيزي العميل للاطمئنان علي منزلك يجب فحصه من الحين للاخر
    لضمان عدم وجود تسربات مياه تقضي علي اساس المنزل
    تقم لقم شركه المنارة
    لفريق العمل المميز في ازي حولت تتمان علي منزلك بي سحا وي سلامه
    فقوم بران علي شركة المنارة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالخبر
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالقطيف
    انسداد المجاري من المشاكل الخطيرة التي تواجهك عزيز العميل حيث تتكاثر الجراثيم والحشرات والرائحة الكريهه
    فشركة المناره تمتلك سيارات تسليك المجاري وشفط وتنظيف البيارات تاتيك باقصي سرعه
    وي افضل الاجهزة الحديثه في هي شركة المنارة
    افضل شركه في دمام وتقوم بل عمل المميز
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالخبر
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالقطيف
    عميلي العزيز تقدم لقم شركه المنارة العمل المميز في ادا اتسليك المجاري فل قطبف فل الخبر فل الجبلي فل ابها
    فل بيشا فل خميس مشيط ول لخي بما ياعني اشوارع وطروق في ارواح ول ما المعكعكا
    شركة المنارة ارخص شركا فل القطيف بما ياعني ان
    شركه المنارة هي ارخص شركه في دمام
    وشغل علي مضار 24 ساعه

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your ideas,

    I would like to introduce about Reliable Premium Management.
    We’re the only Pay-As-You-Go facilitator in the nation that works seamlessly with your payroll provider, your agent/broker, and your insurance carrier. We’re here to make workers’ compensation easy, affordable, and less of a burden on you.

    Reliable Premium Management

    Pay-As-you-Go-Insurance

    ReplyDelete