Major Changes to Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law Coming This Summer

Susan J. Sadow, P.C. Office

Georgia’s weekly rates for temporary total disability and temporary partial disability have traditionally been some of the lowest in the country! In addition, the financial benefit for dependents who suffered the loss of a loved one due to a work related injury in Georgia have also been woefully inadequate. We are happy to report that temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits and compensation to a surviving spouse will be increased for all injuries or workplace deaths that take place on or after July 1, 2019.

For the past seven years, limitations on medical treatment have also presented an enormous problem for many of Georgia’s injured workers. On July 1, 2013, severe time restrictions were imposed on the rights of individuals who suffered work related injuries to receive medical treatment. These restrictions capped medical treatment at 400 weeks from the date of injury for all non-catastrophic injuries. This meant that durable medical goods such as replacement prostheses, spinal cord stimulators, intrathecal pumps, hearing aids, orthotics and prescription eyeglasses would no longer be paid for by workers’ compensation insurers after the 400 week period. The huge financial burden for Georgia’s seriously injured workers that resulted from these limitations on medical treatment has finally been addressed!

Effective July 1, 2019, the following changes to Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation law will go into place. They will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact for countless numbers of injured workers:

  1. The maximum weekly compensation rate for temporary total disability benefits will increase from $575.00 to $675.00.

  2. The maximum weekly compensation rate for temporary partial disability benefits will increase from $383.00 to $450.00.

  3. The total compensation payable to a surviving spouse as a sole dependent at the time of death and where there is no other dependent for one year or less after the death of the employee will increase from $230,000 to $270,000.

  4. For injuries on or after July 1, 2013, that are not designated as catastrophic injuries, the maximum period of 400 weeks for medical treatment shall not be applicable to the following care, treatment, services and items when prescribed by an authorized physician:

    1. maintenance, repair, revision, replacement or removal of any prosthetic device furnished within 400 weeks of the accident date;
    2. maintenance, repair, revision, replacement or removal of a spinal cord stimulator or intrathecal pump device, provided such device was originally furnished during the 400 week period after the date of injury;
    3. maintenance, repair, revision, replacement or removal of durable medical equipment, orthotics, corrective eyeglasses or hearing aids furnished within the 400 week period after the date of injury. This includes, but is not limited to, manual and electric wheelchairs, beds and mattresses, traction equipment, canes, crutches, walkers, oxygen and nebulizers.