Workers Comp Wage Statements – Adjuster Reviews Saves Later Headaches
One of the most reviled forms in the claims process is the workers comp wage statement. Many states require very complex forms to be filed by the claims departments. Employers usually like them even less. The term “necessary evil” comes to mind on what can be a large task.
An article on the definition of wage statements can be found here.
Then again, in many of the files, I have reviewed, the workers comp wage statements were never reviewed or questioned by the claims staff. The state will process whatever is sent to them.
Once a wage statement has been calculated by the state’s workers comp commission, changing it becomes very difficult. The workers comp commissioner or judge may sometimes increase the wage if the injured employee questions the figures.
Let us look at an example of one of the more complex wage statements. This one is from the state of North Carolina – a Form 22 – Statement of Days Worked and Earnings of Employee. The total blanks to fill in approach 400 in number. Some state’s wage statements are much simpler.
I am not picking on our HQ state. Below the North Carolina wage statement is one from New Hampshire. The form is not as involved to complete.
To find your respective state’s wage statement, Google “your state’s” workers compensation wage statement form. You may have to look further down the page to find it. Please click on the example below to see larger images.
Workers Comp Wage Statement Nightmares
Why am I covering this boring topic? Over the last few months, the situations that I have seen pop up several times involve the employer not completing the wage statement or an inaccurate statement was filed and accepted by the state.
- The employer did not complete the wage statement before the case went to a hearing on many subjects including a wage rate. The employee was earning $400 a week according to the First Report of Injury. The judge ruled as no wage statement was filed, he was assigning the state’s maximum rate. What was a $4oo a week rate became $1,250 with an associated comp rate of $833.38. Wow!
- The employer completed the wage statement incorrectly. An obvious mistake was made. The very busy adjuster filed the wage statement without doing a cursory review. What should have been a $225 per week compensation rate turned out to be $415. The employee was declared to be permanent total with lifetime benefits. There was no way to change the overpayment rate of $190 per week for lifetime benefits.
Bottom Line – A Workers Comp wage statement may be a pain to complete and review. Doing both of those tasks will result in the employee being paid fairly and timely. Ignoring the wage statement’s importance can be very costly.