We anticipate that the following significant changes will be made to Georgia Workers’ Compensation law on July 1, 2019.
- Increase in the maximum weekly compensation rate for temporary total disability benefits from $575 to $675 for all injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2019.
- Increase in the maximum weekly compensation rate for temporary partial disability benefits (wage loss) from $383 to $450 for all injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2019.
- For all injuries not designated as Catastrophic injuries under subsection (g) of O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-200.1, the following items will no longer be subject to the 400 week cap:
- maintenance, repair, revision, replacement or removal of any prosthetic device furnished within 400 weeks of the accident date;
- 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;
- 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.
- The total compensation paid to a surviving spouse as a sole dependent at the time of death 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.
The increase in the weekly compensation rate for Georgia’s injured workers is long overdue. Georgia’s weekly compensation rates still remain some of the lowest in the country even after this increase. The changes to the law concerning durable medical equipment are critical to the welfare of workers’ who have suffered severe injuries and had no source of paying for durable medical goods beyond 400 weeks from their accident dates or after their case settled. Requiring employers, insurers and self-insurers to pay for these goods will enable attorneys to include the future cost of these goods in settlement evaluations and will ensure that injured workers continue to receive the medical equipment that they need for the remainder of their lives.