San Diegans permanently inured on the job will not collect lower workers' compensation payments from the Department of Industrial Relations. The Permanent Disability Benefits fund was increased by 470 million dollars by a Senate bill passed by the California legislature last year.
California's department will take two years to add the money to the fund.
Permanent disability benefits at 1.4 times the previous amount are now possible.
Reforms to the labor law made by the bill Senators Christine Kehoe and Juan Vargas supported prevent injured workers who experience pain from getting overlooked, and labeled with zero disability. The 2013 reforms fix the reforms made in 2004 during the Governor Schwarzenegger administration that left fewer injured workers covered by workers' compensation. Medical examinations that miss the injury that causes a worker pain can no longer leave the worker with a hidden injury.
A deal made between employers and employees on the change to the insurance system made benefits certain for injured workers. Workers, however, gave up their right to sue in a private action to collect the money they need to replace lost income.
Workers who experience a loss of income after injury that puts them near, or below, the income line for living and finding a job, even after workers' compensation is counted, can now get return to work benefits. The work program that fills in a gap in income that makes paying for a job search a lost cause will get funded by money from the workers' compensation revolving fund.
Relief from workers' compensation limits started on January 1st.
This is a Center Line Policy Alert.