Injured workers who receive wage replacement benefits may qualify for cost-of-living adjustments. The adjustments increase the benefits amount to account for increases in living costs in Minnesota since the workplace injury occurred. Since some workers receive workers’ compensation benefits for years after their injuries, they need cost-of-living adjustments so that their benefits are not artificially low just because significant time has passed.
To determine whether a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) should be made, insurance companies use the amount of time since the date of injury. The adjustment has varied significantly over time depending on the injury date. For injuries that occurred between October 1, 1992 and September 30, 1995, an adjustment of up to 4 percent is made on the second anniversary date of the injury and annually after that. For injuries that occurred between October 1, 1995 and September 30, 2013, an adjustment of up to 2 percent is made on the fourth anniversary date and annually after that. For injuries that occurred between Oct. 1, 2013 and the present, an adjustment of up to 3 percent is made on the third anniversary date and annually after that.
“Adjustment” means that the benefits amount an injured worker receives will increase by the percentages stated above. While a 2 to 4 percent increase in benefits may not seem like much, it is the state of Minnesota’s acknowledgement that living costs increase over time. In contrast, the Social Security Administration’s COLAs tend to be a little lower than in Minnesota.
Injured workers who receive Temporary Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, Permanent Total Disability and dependency benefits will qualify for cost-of-living adjustments provided that they are still being paid benefits after the third anniversary date of injury. Note that the current 3 percent COLA is a maximum adjustment – you may receive a lower COLA to your benefits.
When you receive documents from the insurance company showing the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you will receive, study the documents closely. Ensure that the company has accurately listed information about your claim, the amount of time you have received benefits, and the date of injury. Catching any errors early on could be key to obtaining benefits, including COLAs, in the future.
Injured at work and need help navigating the workers’ compensation system in Minnesota? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.