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CA DWC Updates Fact Sheet, Addresses Questions on Benefit Notices and SB 863

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Sacramento, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) - The Division of Workers’ Compensation has posted an updated fact sheet for injured workers online which provides answers to questions about permanent disability indemnity. The division is providing a grace period until March 18, 2013 to use the revised fact sheet as required for issuance of benefit notices. Only the text of the fact sheet is required for compliance.

Specific changes to the fact sheet:

  • Information is provided to confirm the claims administrator for an employer
  • The potential modification of the PD rating in accordance with Labor Code §4658(d) is clarified as applicable to injuries occurring prior to Jan. 1, 2013. PD for injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2013 will be increased by a Whole Person Impairment factor of 1.4%.
  • There is an explanation for the basis for delaying the payment of PD in accordance with Labor Code §4650(b)(2).
  • Information is provided about the Department of Industrial Relation’s Special Earnings Loss Supplement Program for workers who feel that they are not adequately compensated for their earnings loss.

DWC has also received questions about the effect of SB 863 on the current benefit notice requirements, particularly as to the requirement to pay permanent disability before an award is issued.

The Division is in the process of significantly redrafting the benefit notice regulations to incorporate the changes required by SB 863 and streamline the current notice requirements.

The current notice requirements remain in effect until the updated regulations are adopted. However, a claims administrator could include an explanation of Labor Code section 4650(b)(2) in the initial P&S with PD notice required by Title 8, California Code of Regulations, section 9812(g)(2) to explain if PD benefits will not be paid to the injured worker.

The benefit notice regulations prescribe the required content of each notice. The sample benefit notices set forth in the benefit notice manual contain suggested language for complying with the benefit notice regulations. Unless specific notice language is required by a Labor Code section or a DWC regulation, a claims administrator can rephrase the notice language in the model notices so long as the content required by the regulations is accurately given.

 

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