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Workers Comp Maximum Weekly Benefit = Fair?


Workers Comp Maximum Weekly Benefit – Fair To Injured Workers? – The Numbers

One of the most common disputes that I received in my claims/risk management career was when I had to explain a Workers Comp Maximum Weekly Benefit to a high-earning injured worker.

You can check out the chart supplied by the Social Security Administration here that lists all the workers comp maximum weekly benefits including a history of the maximums since 1985.

American Samoa is one of the jurisdictions without a maximum limit on weekly benefits.

pic of workers comp weekly benefit check
Wiki Public Use License – Twotoque, Airodyssey

Maximum Weekly Benefit – Georgia Example

Not to pick on the Peach State that has a great college football program, but I had to find an example state.

The workers comp maximum weekly benefit as of 07/01/22 = $725.00.   Now that may look low, but please remember that it is a tax-free benefit.  Check out this J&L article on supplements for a good discussion on workers comp benefit calculations.

The $725.00 equates very roughly to $1,087.50 average wages taxed.   Workers comp in Georgia (as in most states) is calculated at 2/3 of the  Average Weekly Wage.

If one takes the $1,087.50 * 52 weeks the amount of $56,550 would be the yearly amount of maximum wages before the maximum goes into effect.   Does that seem low to you?

The other side of the coin is allowing no workers comp maximums would cause an employer to pay massive amounts of premiums due to the higher claims values.  I am not choosing sides here – only providing an example of the involved numbers.

Real World Numbers – Truck Driver Example

According to Indeed.com, the average US trucker has a yearly salary of $71,254.  Georgia truckers make 1% above the national average or approximately $72,000.

So, if a Georgia trucker with average pay is injured on the job, the math goes like this:

  • ($72,000 /52) = $1,384.61 average weekly earnings
  • $1,384.61 * 2/3 = $923,07  workers comp payment rate
  • $923.07 –  $725.00 = $198.07 difference in comp rate

I rounded off a few numbers.  One can easily see that an average Georgia trucker injured on the job today would have a $198.07 excess over the maximum amount.   This equates to a $297 dollar reduction in taxable wages per week. 

I did not write this article to debate the current Workers Comp laws.  I know that workers comp is there to “hold everything together” for an injured employee and as an encouragement to return to gainful employment.

How does a workers comp claims adjuster explain this to a good employee who was injured on the job?

How often does this situation occur for injured employees when the workers comp maximum weekly benefit kicks in?  Truckers tend to make higher wages, but that should not cause a $297 wage reduction if they are injured on the job.



James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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