A work-related injury can complicate life for the injured party, as well as that person’s family. Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws are designed to serve as a safety net for injured workers who are unable to return to work, whether that is for a recovery period or permanently.
Legislation passed by Minnesota lawmakers in 2018 made important changes to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. Here are highlights of the changes, which are designed to benefit injured workers:
PTSD is presumed to be an occupational disease for specific jobs
Firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers and other first responders are increasingly being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A change to the workers’ compensation laws in Minnesota presumes that a mental impairment of this sort is an occupational disease if the person had not been diagnosed with a mental impairment prior to taking the qualifying job. The new law also covers correctional facility officers and licensed nurses who provide emergency medical services outside of a medical facility.
Workers in these designated roles may not qualify for workers’ comp benefits if the PTSD resulted from disciplinary action, job transfer, work evaluation, demotion, termination or similar action by the employer.
Changes to statutorily allotted temporary partial disability benefits
The amended Minnesota statute extends the number of weeks that temporary partial disability (TBD) benefits can be received from 225 to 275. An employee who is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits must have accrued them within 450 weeks of the date of the work-related injury.
Injured workers who qualify to receive temporary partial disability benefits will continue to be paid two-thirds of the difference between their average weekly wage prior to the injury and any earnings the employee makes following the injury.
Changes to permanent partial disability payment schedules
Workers who have permanent injuries to body parts and who qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) will receive increased payments. Schedule multipliers have been increased by approximately 5%. For example, prior to the new law, the schedule amount called for a worker with a 5% PPD to be paid $3,750 ($75,000 x .05). The new law increases that PPD payment to $3,940 (the increased $78,800 schedule amount x .05).
Permanent total disability retirement age increased to 72
Prior to the most recent changes to workers’ comp law, permanent disability benefits would cease when an employee reached age 67 due to presumed retirement. The amended law states that permanent total disability benefits will end at age 72. If an employee is injured after age 67, permanent total disability benefits will end after five years of the benefits being paid. When presumed retirement was set at age 67, this was rebuttable. The new law setting the retirement presumption age at 72 is not rebuttable.
Thorough knowledge of Minnesota workers’ compensation laws is critical to protect your rights. If you or someone you love suffers a work-related injury, it’s wise to enlist the help of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney, get in touch with us today.