California Workers’ Comp Temporary Total Disability Rates To Increase By 2020

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) just announced that the 2020 minimum and maximum temporary total disability rate is expected to rise significantly. DWC says the minimum TTD rate will increase to about $194.91 and the maximum TTD rate will increase to $1,999.43 on a weekly basis.

Labor Code requires the TTD rate to increase in proportion to the increase in the State Average Weekly Wage when compared to the previous year. The State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) is defined as the average wage paid to employees that are covered under unemployment insurance by the United States Department of Labor in California for 12 months and end by March 13 in the year before the injury took place. During those 12 months, the SAWW had increased from $1,276 to $1,325 (about 3.8 %).

Workers with an injury dated Jan. 1, 2003 or after who are currently getting a life pension or receiving benefits for permanent disability are entitled to have their weekly LP or PTD rate adjusted according to the SAWW.

The DWC is part of the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), which administers and enforces laws related to wages, overtime, safety in the workplace, and health, along with other benefits. DIR is housed within the Labor & Workforce Development Agency.

Temporary disability can be categorized as temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD) or wage loss (TD). These are both compensations a person recovering from an injury or illness sustained at work will receive. TTD payments are granted if you are unable to work during recovery.  TPD is also offered if you go back to work but can only do so for limited hours or at a lower wage with limited tasks. Also, if your doctor restricts the type of work you can do or your employer doesn’t let you work full time, you may qualify for temporary disability benefits. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay income taxes on your TTD benefits.

TTD benefits are generally equal to two-thirds of your former income, which comprises overtime, lodging, and gas. You may receive more than that if you were scheduled for a pay raise – about two-thirds of the higher wage. However, these rates are subject to a minimum and maximum rate based on the day the injury had taken place. For the most part, your doctor will decide whether you are entitled to receive TD. You can get a second opinion if don’t agree with your doctor. You will receive your first payment about 14 days after your employer discovers you were injured at work and states that you are temporarily disabled.

California is also among the only states that have short-term disability programs. Temporary disability is generally easier to get than Social Security Disability. In order to qualify for such, workers should have work for a required period of 30 days to six months. However, the illness should be non-work related. These benefits only last 52 weeks in California, and they are about 60% of your wages.