What happens to your Michigan wage loss benefits if you have children or get married?
A recent question on Facebook lead to an interesting discussion about changes in dependency and Michigan law. The conversation revolved around whether a person could increase his or her weekly comp rate based upon a new yearly maximum.
The max rate for 2015 is $820.00 per week. This is a $74.00 increase from five years ago. Unfortunately, your average weekly wage is fixed at the time of injury. This means that your weekly comp rate will not increase based upon a new yearly maximum.
The weekly comp rate is based upon your average weekly wage. However, wage loss benefits are capped at 90% of the state-wide average weekly wage. This was a public policy decision made by our Legislature. Not exactly fair for high wage earners who are stuck with an arbitrary limit.
But what about dependency change? This is an important question because it can affect your weekly comp rate. Changes in dependency typically occur when children are born or you get married.
Benefits can be increased if a child is born and lives with the injured worker. This should also apply to adopted children under the age of 16. Sometimes older children that are physically or mentally incapacitated can result in a higher weekly comp rate. Michigan courts have found that step-children and grandchildren cannot be used to increase the weekly comp rate.
A person with an average weekly wage of $700.00 can expect about a $20 increase in the weekly comp rate by adding two children. It’s not a significant amount of money but it certainly helps when dealing with the financial consequences of not being able to work.
Changes in marital status might also affect your wage loss benefits. Getting married will not automatically increase your weekly comp rate. You must prove factual dependency using a complicated formula. Divorce can also result in a decrease.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by 401(K) 2013.