For the first time in state history, workers’ compensation benefit rates in New Jersey will be decreasing. In the coming year, the highest benefits will fall from $794 to $792 per week, a 0.3% decrease. This may be compared to 2007, when rates increased 2.7 %.
Historically, New Jersey’s maximum workers’ compensation has increased by modest increments on a yearly basis. The decrease slated for 2011 indicates a significant faltering of the state’s economy. And while there will be a decline in scheduled disability rates, skyrocketing medical costs will continue to go uncapped. The financial consequences of that disparity remain unclear in a period of declining payrolls and smaller premium collections on workers’ compensation benefits.
2011’s maximum workers’ compensation benefits for temporary disability, permanent partial disability and permanent total disability rates are based upon the States’s Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) for the prior year. Currently, New Jersey allows a maximum benefit of 75 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.
Maximum workers’ compensation benefit rates in New Jersey have been regarded as rather low in relation to other states in the U.S., and many workers’ compensation attorneys and workers’ rights advocates have purchased for a higher adjustment.
The new payment schedules will apply to workers who suffer on the job injuries and deaths in 2011.