New York’s Minimum Weekly Workers’ Comp Benefits to Increase Under New Law

Goldberg Segalla

Goldberg Segalla

Key Takeaways:

  • The minimum weekly compensation for individuals receiving workers’ compensation benefits will soon increase under legislation signed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

  • Hikes in the minimum weekly compensation will increase annually over the next three years, starting on Jan. 1.

  • The bill aims to better protect low-wage workers.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation (S1161-A/A2034-A) to increase the minimum weekly compensation for individuals who receive workers’ compensation benefits.

The new legislation increases the minimum benefits for workers’ compensation to better protect low-wage workers who are injured and cannot work.

Per the legislation, the minimum benefits for a permanent or temporary partial disability will increase as follows:

  • 01/01/2024—$275
  • 01/01/2025—$325
  • 07/01/2026—increased to one-fifth of the state average weekly wage.

At permanency, the total payout of a classification award over time will increase by $28,125 (from $33,750 to $61,875).  If the claimant’s average weekly wage is $412.50 or less, the total and partial rates will be at the statutory minimum.  For files with such an average weekly wage, carriers will want to consider whether IMEs to address degree of disability have value in moving the claim forward, as the rate will be the same no matter the degree.  Further, those claimants with an average weekly wage of $275.00 or less will be disincentivized to return to work, as they will receive their full wages no matter the degree of disability.  Part-time employee claim values will increase, and carriers will need to aggressively pursue labor market attachment in certain cases.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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