Newsletter June 2007
VOLUME III, ISSUE II
 
MAKE HIM KEEP HIS PROMISE!
“I NEVER WANT TO HURT ANY ONE OF THE WORKERS OR THE PEOPLE THAT GET THE BENEFITS.”
Gov. Schwarzenegger, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 19, 2003
 
HELP ON THE WAY?
Senate President pro Tem Don Perata has introduced legislation, Senate Bill 936, that would double permanent disability (PD) benefits in California by January 1, 2010.
 
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez has introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 1212, that would require the Administrative Director to increase PD to conform with wage loss data and studies by the California Commission on Health and Safety in Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC). Both SB 936 and AB 1212 are supported by organized labor including the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, Teamsters Public Affairs Council, UFCW, CA Professional Firefighters, SEIU, AFSCME, LIUNA and SBCTC. Discussions between staff members from the Assembly and Senate leadership and the Administration’s staff have taken place. 
 
It is critical to write, phone, or email your legislator and Gov. Schwarzenegger to urge them to support SB 936 and AB 1212 so that fair and reasonable PD benefits are restored. Find your legislator’s contact info at: www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. Gov. Schwarzenegger can be contacted at 916-445-2841. 
 
ADMINISTRATION’S OWN STUDY ACKNOWLEDGES DRASTIC PD CUTS
 
The Department Industrial Relations’ Division of Workers’ Compensation latest wage loss study recently
released reconfirms yet again numerous previous studies that document the urgent need to restore
fair and reasonable PD benefits. Three of its major findings are:
 
• In 12,800 claims rated under the 2005 PDRS, ratings were reduced on average by 43.4%; almost identical to reductions found earlier by CHSWC.
 
• Workers’ comp benefits replaced 52.5% of wages lost in the first three years after injury, even lower than the amount in the original RAND study.
 
• The average amount of a disabled worker’s wage loss replaced in those first three years is just $6.600 per year.
 
CHSWC studied 30,000 PD cases and found that the Administration’s PD schedule reduces benefits by more than 50%, and was not based on empirical evidence, as required by SB 899.
 
Also affirming the illegality of the Administration’s PD schedule was the recent court decision by San Francisco Workers’ Compensation Judge Jacqueline Duncan in Boughner vs. Comp USA and Zurich North America (Case No. SFO 491230). Judge Duncan held, “The Administrative Director failed to base the adjusted rating schedule on empirical data and findings…The AD acted arbitrarily and in violation of the requirements of the statute in unilaterally terminating all efforts to obtain sufficient empirical data.”
 
APPALLING: CALIFORNIA LAGS BEHIND RURAL DEEP SOUTH IN PD COMPENSATION
 
Benefits for California’s injured workers rank among the lowest in the nation compared to injured workers in other states.
 
• Loss of an eye: California ranks lowest in the nation!
• Hearing loss in one ear: California ranks lowest in the nation!
• Loss of a toe: California ranks lowest in the nation!
• Loss of a foot: California ranks 2nd lowest in the nation!
• Loss of 1st finger: California ranks 2nd lowest in the nation!
• Loss of a leg at hip: California ranks 6th lowest in the nation!
• Loss of a thumb: California ranks 7th lowest in the nation!
 
(Source: “Analysis of Workers’ Compensation Laws,” US Chamber of Commerce)
Despite its high cost of living, California’s weekly maximum PD benefits at $270 is 4th lowest in nation compared to national average of $595. (Source: workerscompensation.com)
 
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Posted 06-01-2007 10:40 AM by caaaAdmin 

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