Bulletin No. 80-05
December 20, 2005

Cost of living adjustment increase for some permanent total disability and life pension cases triggered by increase to the California state average weekly wage

Labor Code section 4659(c) requires that, for workers injured on or after Jan. 1, 2003, permanent total disability (PTD) and life pension payments be increased on Jan. 1, 2004 and every January 1st thereafter based on changes in the California state average weekly wage (SAWW). Therefore, according to the provisions of Labor Code section 4659(c), permanent total disability and life pension rates will be increased by 4.01 percent as of Jan. 1, 2006.

The exact text of the subdivision is: "(c) For injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2003, an employee who becomes entitled to receive a life pension or total permanent disability indemnity as set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall have that payment increased annually commencing on January 1, 2004, and each January 1 thereafter, by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the "state average weekly wage" as compared to the prior year. For purposes of this subdivision, "state average weekly wage" means the average weekly wage paid by employers to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the United States Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending March 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which the injury occurred."

The SAWW for the twelve months preceding Mar. 31, 2004 is $806.11, and for the 12 months preceding Mar. 31, 2005 it is $838.42. Thus, the SAWW has increased by $32.31, or 4.01 percent.

SAWW rates may be verified at these US Department of Labor Web pages:

SAWW for the 12 months preceding Mar. 31, 2005:
http://atlas.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum05/1stqtr/finance.asp#California

SAWW for the 12 months preceding Mar. 31, 2004:
http://atlas.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum04/1stqtr/finance.asp#California

###