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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Permenancy and Wage Differential

    I was injured in MD. I've got ddd, facet joint arthritis, constant deep muscle spasms, and ruptured ligaments, which arent healing due to the spasms.
    I've passed MMI, got physical restrictions, and an FCE which places me at part-time light work with multiple functional defecits, no standing / walking over 10 minutes, no sitting over 20 minutes without position changes. I've got a good pain management doctor, and am currently going through vocational rehab. I was fairly well paid before, around 28/hour, and voc rehab councilor (contracted through the IC) wants me to go back to work as a part time security guard or other entry level position making in the 9 - 10 dollar an hour range.

    I am curious about how the wage differential is dealt with in maryland. Comparing the hours from full time to part time, and the huge gap in salary, I stand to take an 84% paycut. I've searched the MD WCC website, but found no information as far as wage differential.

    How does it deal with the wage differential?
    Is it paid for a certain number of months, or for life?
    Is any award from wage differential going to interfere or coincide with my Permanent total or permanent partial compensation?
    Are these usually done as Lump sum or as a structured payout?
    Once I finish up with voc rehab, approximately how long can I expect the final strech of this WC case to take?
    Is there anything else between Voc rehab and then the final permenancy hearing?

    I know the formula associated with determining PPD amounts / weeks etc, but am clueless as to wage differential, and I believe that the wage differential will play a huge part in this due to the amount of the paycut.
    I'm not sure if I will be perm total or partial yet, but my orthopedist stated that I wouldn't be capable of going back to suitable gainful employment.
    Thanks in advance for any advice / help / suggestions, and best of luck to all of you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Permenancy and Wage Differential

    There is no wage differential; impairment benefits only.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Permenancy and Wage Differential

    Ok, thanks for the reply. Does that mean that there is no compensation at all for any part of the 85% paycuts? or is that figured into the impairment? Is it possibly figured into the impairment rating? I apologize about the questions, I know how to figure out the award once you have the % of permanent disability, but I am unsure just how the impairment rating is figured out. I know I get a rating from a doctor for physical impairment, and also psych is opened up and there may be impairment from that, but I am unsure how it is combined to figure out the final impairment rating. I just can't imagine that there is no compensation for that amount of a paycut. Not saying you are wrong, just hoping that it is added in some other way. Thanks for all the help.
    Last edited by mason; 02-21-2009 at 11:08 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Permenancy and Wage Differential

    Have you gone to the MD site and searched the benefits available for PPD/PD ?

    It doesn't appear that your state provides for a 'wage differential' but only for indemnity based on the final rating of your impairment.

    What you are talking about, 'wage loss' for the inability to earn your pre injury wage... WC doesn't provide for 'lost wages'...only indemntiy for your loss of ability to compete in the open labor market. Those dollars are taken into consideration in the number of weeks you are awarded for each 1% of your PD rating.
    Your PPD/indemnity is also goverened by a state average weekly wage, and a min/max benefits per week.

    For awards for a period less than 75 weeks for events occurring on or after January 1, 2003 compensation is to be paid at the rate of thirty-three and one-third per centum of the claimant’s average weekly wage, not to exceed $114.00 per week. (The minor disability category does not apply to certain public safety employees. See LE 9-628(a).

    For awards for a period of less than 75 weeks for events occurring on or after January 1, 2009, compensation is to be paid at the rate of thirty-three and one-third per centum of the claimant's average weekly wage, not to exceed 14.3% of the State average weekly wage or $130.00.

    For awards for a period equal to or greater than 75 weeks, but less than 250 weeks, the compensation is to be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage not to exceed one-third of the State Average Weekly Wage or $302.00.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Permenancy and Wage Differential

    Thanks for the reply. Yes I have searched the MD forums, as well as going over state code on comar online. I've spoken to my attorney, and voc rehab councilor, and they both mentioned compensation at permenancy for the future wage losses. I just didn't get specifics out of it.
    I also did more research this morning and think that maybe Maryland refers to it as "Industrial Loss". I try to get as many specifics as I can regarding the actual compensation though, so I can see if it's worthwhile contesting the voc rehab plan I am under since the first 4 month term of the origional plan is almost up, or if I should go for retraining. I don't mind going from $28 an hour full time to $9 an hour part time if I can still support my family. I really am anxious to get back to work, after 3 years of this I am really stir crazy.
    I only saw general references to the industrial loss during my research, so I am not really sure if it is exactly what I hope it is.
    My lawyer mentioned that he believes I fall into the serious disability benefits category under PPD, which is over 250 weeks. The back is scheduled at 500 weeks, so I basically take whatever percentage I am rated at, and multiply
    (500 * % = Y). if the disability is greater than 250 weeks, you add 1/3 of the amount of weeks, so (Y +1/3Y) which gives you the final amount of weeks. That is then multiplied times 2/3 of your AWW not to exceed 75% of the states AWW. Supposedly from what I read "industrial loss" can increase the total number of weeks of your PPD by an amount determined by the commission. I know that all states have different laws regarding WC, for example, I know MD allows pain ratings to be added into permenancy evaluation, while some states may not do that, and other states have wage differential systems seperate from indemnity. It just makes it all very confusing I think. I wish all of it was governed by a federal system rather than a state system. More uniformity would make this whole thing alot less complicated.

    I am not saying that that is the way it is, just my current understanding, so please if I am wrong correct me. I really want to understand exactly what goes into this.
    Maryland uses 4 tiers for permanency T1 = less than 75, T2 = 75 - 250, T3 = >250 weeks, and T4 = Total permanent. Each tier has a increasingly higher % of the states AWW as compensation.

    Plus I was injured in 2006, so I think that when I go for permenancy, I am under the states AWW for 06, rather than when I go to court, But I very well might be wrong about this.

    For anyone else reading this, this is not a guaranteed method of how the system works, just my understanding of it, which I am looking for people to find faults with and correct my understanding of it. Sorry for this post being a short novel, and thanks again for all the help

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