Maximum Compensation Rate Continues to Rise, Even in Bad Times
Written by Stan Lacy
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission has announced the maximum compensation rate for 2014 is $752.16, up from $743.72 in 2013. This means in spite of the poor economy, the average weekly wage in South Carolina continues to increase.
The maximum compensation rate is defined as “the average weekly wage in the State for the preceding fiscal year.” S.C. Code §42-9-10. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act charges the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) with annually determining that number. If salaries go up, average weekly wage goes up, and compensation rates go up. The maximum compensation rate was $645.94 in 2007. From that time to the present, the compensation rate has climbed an additional 16.4%. The cumulative inflation rate for the same period nationwide has been 12.4% according to www.usinflationcalculator.com. The compensation rate has beaten the rate of inflation by 4% for that period. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for South Carolina went from 5.5% in June 2007 to 11.9% in June 2009 and stayed above 10% until October 2011.By December 2012, it dropped to 8.6% and is currently 7.9%.
With inflation being modest from 2007 to 2013, and unemployment being relatively high, it seems the state’s average weekly wage should go down, not up. One could reason that with so many people being out of work, the average income per citizen should be less, not more. Perhaps the unemployed are not included in the calculation of average weekly wage, or the calculation includes only those who are actually wage earners and their wages are way up, or maybe, conditions are not as bad as we have been led to believe.
In any case, we can say three things are certain instead of two: there will always be death, taxes…and ever increasing compensation rates.
New eCase Features: More on the Way
- Full case history detail
- New contact buttons to direct case-specific inquiries to the appropriate party at the SCWCC.
- “Appeal a Fine” button that provides information regarding the procedure to appeal a fine assessed by the SCWCC. It also gives an email address directing where to send a written appeal request.
- “Ask a Question” button that offers a variety of frequently asked questions which can be submitted through eCase and delivered to a SCWCC staff member.
The Commission says the eCase system upgrades are in an effort to provide better service for its users and stakeholders. Future changes include some electronic form filing ability, including the Form 18. For questions about the new features, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Report of Injury Changes
Written by Blakely Molitor
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) has changed how it receives First Report of Injury claims. The SCWCC is no longer accepting claims reported in EDI Release 1 Standard format. The change went into effect January 1, 2014, and now all current Release 1 Trading Partners must use EDI Release 3. For purposes of effective transition, the Commission must approve vendors or claim administrators to submit claims via EDI Release 3 format. The following vendors have been approved by the Commission to submit claims through EDI Release 3:
- CS Stars
- Health Tech
- ISO Work Comp Solutions
- Mitchell International
If you have any questions or concerns, contact the SCWCC email@example.com.