N.J. Workers’ Comp Rates Are Way Up, Benefitting the Most Disabled
The state of New Jersey recently raised the amount of benefits injured workers receive through workers’ compensation. The minimum and maximum rates for benefits paid to injured workers are 10 percent higher in 2022 than they were in 2021. This is a major change that is notably higher than the marginal increases in benefits of the last three decades.
The reason for the sharp increase is that New Jersey workers’ comp rates are tied to the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW). Inflation caused the SAWW to rise about 10 percent to $1,420, principally because many lower-wage employees were out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic and higher wages were paid to employees who remained on the job.
The increases apply to both temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial disability benefits. As calculated by NJ statute, the maximum rate is 75 percent of the SAWW, or $1,065 per week, which is up from $969 in 2021. The minimum rate is 20 percent of the SAWW, or $284 per week, up from $258 in 2021.
This 10 percent increase should be of significant benefit to workers who can no longer return to the workplace to perform the type of work they used to do, especially if their work was physical in nature. Total disability due to workplace injuries often forces people to take lower paying jobs, which affects the amount of income they receive over time. These benefits help fill the gap between what a worker was making before the accident and what they can earn afterward. As inflation and the costs of living increase, the rate of benefits will also increase, so the system works to the advantage of the most disabled.
While the labor shortages caused by the pandemic have created more job opportunities, workplace injuries may become more common. Due to a lack of qualified workers, employers are hiring inexperienced staffers in many occupations and do not have time to fully train them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with less than five years’ experience are involved in more than 40 percent of workplace injury cases, largely due to inadequate safety training.
If you suffer a work-related injury in New Jersey, getting prompt and adequate payment of workers’ compensation benefits can be the key to your health recovery and your ability to support yourself and your family. However, the process of obtaining benefits is often complex and challenging.
For more than 25 years, Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. in Succasunna has provided passionate legal representation for injured workers in Sussex and Morris counties and throughout the state. I will fight for your right to the benefits you deserve. Call 862-354-8931 or contact me online to schedule an appointment.