Injured California workers’ advocates charged on Wednesday that the Schwarzenegger Administration’s proposed new permanent partial disability compensation schedule “severely reduces permanent disability benefits to injured workers.”
California Applicants’ Attorneys Association President David Schwartz said that the Administration has “refused to follow the statute and the Legislature’s intent,” and vowed to challenge the proposed cuts in permanent partial disability ratings released this week by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Schwartz said that the new cuts set permanent disability levels “lower than they were in 1983.”
Here are some examples of injured workers who would reportedly be harmed by the governor’s proposal:
A carpenter with an injury to both shoulders who cannot lift his arms, or work, above the shoulder, would be rated 46% disabled and receive $51,550 presently. That same injured carpenter would be rated just 18% disabled and receive only $16,050 under the Administration’s plan. In 1983, this same injured worker would have received $28,000 (equal to $52,532 in 2004 dollars), significantly more than under the Administration’s proposal.
A warehouseman with a leg injury that requires amputation just below the knee, and gets an artificial leg, would receive $62,000 under the present schedule. Under the governor’s proposal, he would receive just $36,000. (In 1983, this same injured worker would have received $34,000, which is worth $64,150 in 2004 dollars. [Consumer Price Index Conversion Factor])
“The proposed new rating schedule will result in a tremendous reduction in permanent disability benefits for injured workers,” said Schwartz. “These new ratings will not provide fair or adequate benefits for injured workers.”
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