Issue: Annual Increase

Please pardon the interruption.  Just a brief note that the U.S. Department of Labor has announced the annual rate increase effective October 1, 2010, applicable to permanent total disability and related death benefits.

Section 910(f) of the Longshore Act states, “Effective October 1 of each year, the compensation or death benefits payable for permanent total disability or death arising out of injuries subject to this Act shall be increased by the lesser of –

(1)    a percentage equal to the percentage (if any) by which the applicable national average weekly wage for the period beginning on such October 1, as determined under section 6(b) exceeds the applicable national average weekly wage, as so determined, for the  period beginning with the preceding October 1, or

(2)    5 per centum

Section 906(b) states, “Maximum rate of compensation.

(1)    compensation for disability or death shall not exceed an amount equal to 200 per centum of the applicable national average weekly wage, as determined by the Secretary….

(2)    compensation for total disability shall not be less than 50 per centum of the national average weekly wage….”

The National Average Weekly Wage (NAWW) effective October 1, 2009 was $612.33.  The Department of Labor has announced a 2.63% increase in the NAWW effective October 1, 2010, so the new NAWW is $628.42.

Since the new National Average Weekly Wage effective October 1, 2010, is $628.42, in accordance with section 906(b), the new weekly Longshore Act maximum rate is 200 per cent of the NAWW or $1,256.84.  The minimum is 50% or $314.21.

Beneficiaries receiving permanent total disability or related death benefits as of September 30, 2010, receive a 2.63 per cent increase in their weekly rate.  The current rate is multiplied by 2.63% and rounded to the nearest dollar for the new rate.

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