The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) recently announced that there will be an increase to the current temporary total disability (TTD) minimum and maximum rates, effective January 1, 2017. The minimum and maximum TTD rates will increase to $175.88 and $1172.57 respectively – an increase of just about 3.9% over the current rates.

Key Provisions

Temporary Total Disability benefits are payments to workers who are unable to do any work while recovering from a work-related injury or illness. These benefits are typically paid at two-thirds of the workers wages at the time of injury or illness and are available to any otherwise eligible employee regardless of their wage rate.

The upcoming increase is required under California Labor Code section 4453(a), which mandates an increase to TTD rates that is equal to the percentage increase in the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) annually. The SAWW, which is the average weekly benefit paid to employees who are covered by unemployment insurance in California as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, increased from $1120.67 to $1164.51 during the 12-month period of March 31, 2015 to March 31, 2016.  This 3.9% increase is required to be reflected in both the minimum and maximum TTD rates.

This increase also effects those who were injured before the effective date of the rate change. California Labor Code section 4659(c) provides workers who were injured on or after January 1, 2003 who are receiving life pensions or permanent total disability benefits with adjustments to their rates based on the SAWW.

Additional Information

The SAWW figures for the first quarters of 2015 and 2016 are available for review on the DOL website.