One of the most important benefits for an injured worker with an admitted injury is the wage replacement benefit known in the California workers’ compensation (“WC”) system as Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”). TTD is meant to compensate an injured worker for their loss of wages while the injured worker is off work recovering from their industrial injury.
What are my benefits?
For most dates of injury, TTD is good for up to a maximum of 104 weeks (2 years) within a five-year period that begins from the first date of payment of TTD to the injured worker. The TTD (Temporary Total Disability) rate is calculated by taking two-thirds of your gross average weekly wages (“AWW”), subject to certain maximum and minimum TTD rates determined by your date of injury. The TTD benefits are paid to you every 2 weeks based on a weekly statutory rate that varies depending on your date of injury.
How do I collect TTD?
In order to receive Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”), your WC doctor must place you off work on TTD status due to your admitted industrial injury, you must be within the 104 weeks, five-year timeframe, and the WC insurance carrier must agree with your doctor on the TTD status. If the WC insurance carrier has a medical provider network (“MPN”), then typically, the TTD status must come from a doctor within the WC insurance carrier’s MPN. Assuming the WC insurance carrier agrees with your doctor, TTD will continue until you reach the 104-week cap or your doctor declares your condition plateaued at permanent and stationary (“P&S”) status also known as maximum medical improvement (“MMI”) status. Your medical status is a judgement call by a doctor. There is no grace period on becoming P&S or MMI. Generally, TTD checks from the WC insurance carrier stop immediately upon reaching the 104-week cap or becoming P&S or MMI.
How does this affect me in a positive way?
The State of California Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”) Division of Workers’ Compensation (“DWC”) recently announced an increase in the TTD rates for 2019 dates of injury. The maximum Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) rate for dates of injury occurring in 2019 i.e., on or after 1/1/19, will increase from $1,215.27 per week to $1,251.38 per week, and the minimum TTD rate will increase from $182.29 per week to $187.71 per week.
Labor Code section 4453(a)(10) requires that the TTD rate be increased by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the State Average Weekly Wage (“SAWW”) as compared to the prior year. The SAWW is defined as the AWW paid to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending March 31 in the year preceding the injury. In the 12 months ending 3/31/18, the SAWW increased from $1,206.92 to $1,242.78 – an increase of 2.971 percent.
Under Labor Code section 4659(c), workers with a date of injury on or after 1/1/03 who are receiving life pension (“LP”) or permanent total disability (“PTD”) benefits are also entitled to have their weekly LP or PTD rate adjusted based on the SAWW.
What if I have questions and may need some assistance?
If you or someone you know is injured in 2019, be sure to identify whether the WC insurance carrier is providing them with the new, correct, higher TTD rate for 2019 dates of injury. Ford & Wallach specializes in helping injured workers obtain all benefits owing to them in the California workers’ compensation system!
 Department of Industrial Relations State of California – Newsline No.: 2018-45 (6/26/18) “DWC Announces Temporary Total Disability Rates for 2019” (increase in maximum and minimum 2019 TTD rates, explanation concerning the SAWW, discussion regarding increase in life pension and permanent total disability benefits).