Does New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Program Provide Cost of Living Increases?
Not for workers whose injury occurred after January 1, 1980. In 1980, New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law was modified to provide supplemental benefits to workers who are totally and permanently disabled from an injury prior to this date. These supplemental benefits are added to a recipient’s regular weekly amount.
This amount is calculated based on what percentage of the maximum benefit rate you were receiving at the time of your injury, adjusted to reflect the newer maximum rate. In other words, if you were paid 70 percent of the maximum rate in 1979, you will be paid 70 percent of the now-current maximum rate of $792 per week, or $554.40.
These supplemental benefits may be reduced if you are receiving Social Security benefits or disability pension benefits through your employer. They may also be reduced if you are now working in spite of your permanent and total disability.
In addition to injured workers, dependents of deceased workers may be eligible to receive benefits if the worker’s death occurred prior to January 1, 1980, or if the worker died in 1980 or after, but his or her death was directly attributable to an injury that happened before 1980.
Before supplemental benefits were granted to workers injured before 1980, many were receiving the maximum amount available to them at the time of their injuries in the 1950s or the 1960s—sometimes as little as $25.
If you are having trouble obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after your injury, an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help. Call Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404 for more information and a free evaluation of your case.