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COLA (COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT)

For injuries on or after 1/1/03, Labor Code §4659 was amended to provide a cost of living adjustment: "an employee who becomes entitled to receive a life pension or total permanent disability indemnity as set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall have that payment increased annually commencing on January 1, 2004, and each January 1 thereafter, by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the "state average weekly wage" as compared to the prior year."

Labor Code §4659 defined "state average weekly wage" as the average weekly wage paid by employers to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the United States Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending March 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which the injury occurred." See DWC chart for SAWW from 2006 on.

Under Baker v. WCAB (2011) 52 Cal. 4th 434, the Supreme Court held that "the Legislature intended that COLA's be calculated and applied prospectively commencing on the January 1 following the date on which the injured worker first becomes entitled to receive, and actually begins receiving, such benefit payments, i.e., the permanent and stationary date in the case of total permanent disability benefits, and the date on which partial permanent disability benefits become exhausted in the case of life pension payments."

See, too, Life Pension

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code Labor Code §4659(c): "For injuries occurring on or after 1/1/03, an employee who becomes entitled to receive a life pension or total permanent disability indemnity as set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall have that payment increased annually commencing on January 1, 2004, and each January 1 thereafter, by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the "state average weekly wage" as compared to the prior year. For purposes of this subdivision, "state average
weekly wage" means the average weekly wage paid by employers to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the United States Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending March 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which the injury occurred."
COLA   
Regulations/Rules  
Cases Baker v. WCAB (2011) 52 Cal. 4th 434 Baker v. WCAB  
Forms      
Websites DWC chart for SAWW from 2006 on.
DWC chart   
Practice Tips    
Articles

Calculating Case Values and Attorney’s Fees in a SAWW-based System : DEU Commutation Training
April 2011

California Attorney’s Fee Awards in a Shifting Economy: Application of COLA By Marianne Tancor, J.D.

DEU 

 

Attorney's Fees & COLA

 

 

Note: pre-Baker v. WCAB but nonetheless good explanation of SAWW, etc.
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