North Dakota: Workers' comp agency announces expansion of injured employee benefits
Bryan Klipfel, director of Workforce Safety & Insurance, said 19 bills passed by the state's Legislative Assembly will directly benefit injured workers and their families and are being implemented by the agency. While most have an effective date of Aug. 1, some of the bills have an emergency clause and took effect as soon as they were filed with the North Dakota Secretary of State.
"We are very pleased to see the legislation this session help some of our most severely injured workers by increasing benefits, expanding our vocational retraining programs, and speeding up some cost-of-living increases," Klipfel said. "It is anticipated that the combined effect of these benefit bills will serve to increase future payments on existing injured worker claims by nearly $5 million."
Many of the changes were contained in H.B. 1101, which passed unanimously in both chambers and was signed into law by Gov. John Hoeven in April. When implemented later this year, the legislation will increase a number of benefits, including:
- Maximum disability benefit. This will rise from 110 percent to 125 percent of the state's average weekly wage.
- Death benefits. The bill will increase the lifetime death benefit cap from $250,000 to $300,000, among other things.
- The dependency allowance. This will be raised from $10 to $15 per week per child.
- Pre-acceptance disability benefits. The bill will increase these benefits from the minimum benefit rate to the standard rate.
June 22, 2009
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