Annual Adjustments to Benefits Effective July 1, 2024

Author: Sarah M. Busch-Weiss, Attorney at Law

Every year, the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division revises Bulletin No. 111 regarding the computation of temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits based on the state’s average weekly wage (SAWW). This update replaces the prior Bulletin No. 111 and is directed to workers’ compensation insurers and self-insured employers. The revisions of Bulletin No. 111 take effect on July 1, 2024, and are applicable through June 30, 2025. The goal of this blog post is to provide a simplified version of the most relevant revisions contained in Bulletin No. 111 as a starting point for insurers and self-insured employers to assess how it may impact their claims.

New SAWW for July 1, 2024, Through June 30, 2025

The SAWW is the average weekly wage of workers in covered employment in Oregon and is determined by the Oregon Employment Department. The SAWW applies to the computation of most workers’ compensation benefits for all injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1973. The SAWW affects temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and death benefits for covered workers in Oregon. Effective July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025, the Oregon SAWW has increased 2.749% from $1,295.86 to $1,331.48.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits

With this year’s percent change of 2.749%, the resulting adjustment factor is 1.02749. When adjusting TTD benefits, apply adjustment factors individually, which each succeeding increase compounding the prior increase. For example:

Date of Injury: July 15, 2019

Worker’s AWW: $1,600.00

Statutory TTD rate: 66 and 2/3 percent of $1,600.00 = $1,066.72 (or $1,600.00 x 0.6667)

Multiply the rate by adjustment factors for subsequent years, beginning on 7/1/2020:

$1,066.72 (TTD rate) x 1.04693 (2020 adjustment) x 1.14059 (2021 adjustment) x 1.06263 (2022 adjustment)  x 1.00000 (2023 adjustment) x 1.02749 (2024 adjustment) = $1,390.78

For adjustment rates of prior years, please review the WCD’s Average Weekly Wage chart here.

This will be applicable to the date of injury and subject to the current maximum statutory rate based on the date of injury. For workers injured on or after July 1, 2024, temporary disability benefits are subjected to a maximum of 133% of the SAWW.

The current maximum rates for claims with recent dates of injuries are:

  1. 7/1/2023 – 6/30/2025: $1,770.87
  2. 7/1/2017 – 6/30/2023: $1,811.02
  3. 7/1/2012 – 6/30/2017: $1,832.08
  4. 1/1/2002 – 6/30/2012: $1,834.81
  5. 7/1/1975 – 12/31/2001: $1,379.56
  6. 4/1/1974 – 6/30/1975: $1,103.65

Workers injured on or after January 1, 2002, who were employed in more than one job at the time of injury and who lose wages from one or more of the additional jobs may be eligible for supplemental disability benefits. In this circumstance, the supplemental disability benefits cannot be more than the current maximum statutory rate based on the date of injury listed above. Bulletin No. 111 contains additional relevant information for the calculation of TTD benefits with examples of how to apply the adjustment factors appropriately.

Permanent Partial and Permanent Total Disability (PPD and PTD) Benefits

Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for awards exceeding $6,000.00 are paid at 4.35 times the weekly TTD rate in effect at the time the determination is made. Bulletin No. 111 contains a chart which shows insurers and self-insured employers the pay rates for relevant dates of injury.

Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are paid by multiplying the workers’ weekly wage by 66 and 2/3 percent. For injuries which occurred before January 1, 2018, the benefit must not exceed 100% of the SAWW in effect on the date of injury. For injuries on or after January 1, 2018, PPD must not exceed 133% or be less than 33% of the SAWW in effect on the date of injury. PTD benefits are paid at the statutory rate until it can be modified by any applicable Retroactive Program increases, which are established by the WCD and effective on October 1 of each year.

Death Benefits

Lastly, death benefits for injuries which occurred on or after April 1, 1974, are based upon the SAWW in effect on the date of injury. Changes in the amount of payment depend upon the previously mentioned Retroactive Program benefit levels. Bulletin No. 111 provides insurers and self-insured employers the five step instructions for computing death benefits payable to a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children for all injuries involving death occurring on or after July 1, 2024. The insurer or self-insured employer must pay funeral expenses and any expenses related to the final disposition of the body in an amount which does not exceed 20 times the SAWW. For injuries involving death between July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025, this amount is equal to $26,629.60.

These changes in the relevant benefits to workers covered in Oregon pose yet another unique processing challenge for insurers and self-insured employers to consider. Feel free to reach out to the attorneys at Reinisch Wilson for any questions regarding these changes and how it may impact existing and new claims.