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A little bit of help for permanently disabled workers

The state of California recently added a minor upgrade to its workers' compensation program. The Return-to-Work Supplement Program (RTWSP) issues one-time payments to workers who receive permanent disability benefits.

The program is intended to assist workers who are getting permanent disability benefits that are "disproportionately low in comparison to their earnings losses," the Department of Industrial Relations says on its website.

The department noted that the program is based on a RAND study of permanently disabled workers with disproportionate earnings losses, released early last year. The study shows that for workers in their fourth year after the injury, their annual earnings have plummeted.

Workers with a disability rating of 1 to 4 went from average pre-injury earnings of $45,853 to average post-injury earnings of $31,673. Workers with a disability rating of 95 to 99 had the same average pre-injury income, but their post-injury earnings were down to $2,937. That's a drop of 93.6 percent in earnings.

To help offset some of those losses, there's now the RTWSP. It offers a one-time payment of $5,000. Obviously, to workers who are losing tens of thousands of dollars per year in earnings, that payment will likely have a minimal impact. Regardless, for those in dire financial straits, it's also an amount that they probably can't afford to ignore.

Please keep checking here for more news affecting Coachella Valley residents in need of workers' compensation benefits. Experienced attorneys can help injured workers battle insurers, doctors and the state for deserved, earned workers' comp benefits.

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