First Cases Subject to 130 Week Temporary Partial Disability Credit Now Approaching Permanency
One of the major changes to WCL §15(3)(w) enacted by the 2017 workers’ compensation reform package was a provision allowing carriers to take credit for temporary disability payments paid to a claimant beyond 130 weeks (2.5 years) from the date of accident or disablement against that claimant’s eventual permanent partial disability award. Insurance carriers can get a credit for payment of temporary disability benefits paid beyond 130 weeks from the date on injury against the maximum benefit weeks that would be payable for permanent partial disability under §15(3)(w). This rule applies to all injuries with dates of accident or disability after April 9, 2017.
As of this writing, more than 130 weeks have elapsed since 4/9/17, thus carriers and employers should keep an eye on cases in which permanency has not been determined to see if they can avail themselves of the credit.
Although there are a number of interpretations floating around concerning the exercise of the credit, keep in mind that the Board’s interpretation is the one noted above, which is the most favorable interpretation for carriers and employers. This interpretation allows an insurance carrier or employer to apply the credit against capped PPD benefits for any temporary disability benefits paid—whether partial or total—beyond 130 weeks from the date of injury. It is not necessary that 130 week of benefits be paid before the credit is taken.