Qualified Injured Workers Will See 5.6% Cost Of Living Adjustments Starting July 1.


Maximium Minimum Benefits to rise as well.

Bismarck, ND (CompNewsNetwork) - Over a 1,000 eligible injured workers in North Dakota will be receiving larger benefit checks from Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI). On July 1, an automatic 5.6 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) will take effect for eligible recipients including those receiving permanent total disability and survivor death benefits. According to agency records, it is the largest COLA in the past twenty years. The COLAs are tied to a computation provided from Job Service North Dakota based on the increase in the State's Average Weekly Wage (SAWW).

For injuries after July 1, 2008, the maximum weekly benefit will also increase from $653 to $689 per week and the minimum benefit will increase from $356 to $376 per week. Like most states, injured workers in North Dakota receive two-thirds of their gross wages as a weekly compensation rate subject to maximums and minimums. Workers' compensation wage payments are not taxed and cannot exceed a worker's preinjury net wages.

"These adjustments in benefits helps qualified injured workers keep pace with inflation,” said Bruce Furness, WSI Executive Director and CEO. "And we are pleased to announce that these are the largest known COLAs and benefit increases that we have ever provided.”

In North Dakota, injured workers' maximum weekly benefit calculation is in the top ten in the nation because North Dakota uses a calculation of 110 percent of the SAWW. Most jurisdictions set their maximum weekly benefit at 100 percent of the SAWW. Additionally, North Dakota's minimum benefit rate at 60% of the SAWW is one of the highest in the country.

Based on information found in the US Chamber of Commerce Analysis of Workers' Compensation Laws (2006), approximately one-third of the jurisdictions (including North Dakota) provide automatic cost of living adjustments. The current waiting period in North Dakota for COLA eligibility is 3 years, which was reduced from 7 years by the 2007 Legislative Assembly.

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