At the beginning of every year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania updates the workers’ compensation rate tables. These rates are what are used to determine your wage loss benefits while you are out of work after suffering a work injury. There is a maximum compensation rate based on the average weekly wage across the state. Below that are three other compensation rate tiers. The compensation rate tier you will fall within depends on how much money you were making pre-injury, or your pre-injury average weekly wage.
Increase in Maximum Compensation Rate
As the maximum compensation rate is based on the statewide average weekly wage, that means it is partially driven by the inflation rate. And while the percentage increase in the maximum compensation rate is not the same as the inflation rate, we can see from the chart below that it has been rising over the past six years. The 2020 maximum compensation rate is $1,081, which is a 3.05% increase from 2019’s rate of $1,049.
|Year||Maximum Compensation Rate||Change in Rate from Previous Year|
Compensation Rate Tiers
Including the maximum compensation rate, there are four rate tiers you may fall within. If your pre-injury average weekly wage is above $1,621.50, your compensation rate will be set at the state-mandated maximum of $1,081.
The next tier down follows a ⅔ rule, in which the compensation rate is equal to ⅔ of your pre-injury average weekly wage. The wage range for falling into this category is between $810.76 and $1,621.50.
The third tier is another flat-rate tier like the maximum compensation rate. However, this tier’s rate is set at $540.50 and applies to those with a pre-injury average weekly wage of between $600.56 and $810.75.
Finally, there is a 90% compensation rate tier. If your pre-injury average weekly wage was $600.55 or less, then your compensation rate will be 90% of your pre-injury average weekly wage.
|Average Weekly Wage||Compensation Rate|
|Above $1,621.50||Flat Rate of $1,081|
|$1,621.50 – $810.76||⅔ of Average Weekly Wage|
|$810.75 – $600.56||Flat Rate of $540.50|
|Below $600.56||90% of Average Weekly Wage|
Compensation Rates are Limited by Year
One other thing to keep in mind about state workers’ compensation rates is that they are locked in based on the date/year of your injury. If you were injured in 2019, then you will continue to receive the 2019 compensation rate until you are able to go back to work. There are no cost of living adjustments or increases over time despite inflation.
The 2020 maximum weekly compensation rate has been set at $1,081, and with this come the compensation rates of the three lower tiers as well. After the maximum rate is the ⅔ rate, then a flat rate, and then the 90% rate — each based on your pre-injury average weekly wage. These compensation rates are also locked in based on the date of your injury and are not increased over time. Note, the proper calculation of your underlying average weekly wage is very important and often more complicated than it appears. This calculation will have a direct impact on your benefits, so make sure it is correct!
Contact Hillsberg Law
My name is Geoffrey Hillsberg, and I have made workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania my sole area of practice since 1995. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, contact my law office today. I will fight for the compensation you deserve under Pennsylvania State law.
The advice offered above is general in nature and may not be applicable to every case. Consultation with an attorney is highly recommended. Reliance on this advice does not represent the formation of an attorney-client relationship in the absence of a fee agreement with Mr. Hillsberg.