U.S. DOL increase National Average Weekly Wage

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a new minimum and maximum compensation rate for injured workers covered under the federal Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and its extensions (including the Defense Base Act). Effective October 1, 2011, the new maximum compensation rate is $1,295.20.  The new minimum compensation rate is $323.80.  And, for workers entitled to permanent total disability or death benefits, the annual Section 10(f) increase is 3.05%.

All of these increases are based on the National Average Weekly Wage (NAWW), which is now $647.60 (a 3.05% increase from last year).  The U.S. Department of Labor begins calculating the NAWW July 1st of each year and must disclose the number before October 1st.  According to Section 6, the maximum compensation rate under the Longshore Act is 200% of the NAWW and the minimum compensation rate is 50% of the NAWW.

While no worker is paid more than the maximum compensation rate, a worker is paid less than the minimum compensation rate if the worker’s average weekly wage is less than 50% of the NAWW.  In that case, the worker’s compensation rate is the same as their average weekly wage (normally, the compensation rate is 66 2/3% of the average weekly wage).

For a historical list of the NAWW and compensation rates, visit the NAWW Information page of the Division of Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation.

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