LC 4659(c) (California)

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LC 4659(c) (California)

Postby kandslaw on Wed May 27, 2009 8:30 am

Applicant has 75% PD payable beginning 9-30-08. Life pension calculated at $115.96 per week. Applicant claims he is entitled to have life pension increased annually per LC 4659(c) beginning 1-1-09, even though life pension will not become payable until 2018. Any thoughts?
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Re: LC 4659(c) (California)

Postby davidd on Wed May 27, 2009 8:59 am

Possibly. See XYZZX SJ02 (linked as attachment below). This is only a panel decision, and the Board has not given it Significant Panel status.
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Re: LC 4659(c) (California)

Postby on Wed May 27, 2009 7:37 pm

That case is up on appeal at the moment with the defendant's (SIF) appeal pending.
However the argument that the life pension adjustments commence before the beginning of benefits is compelling. Any other interpretation results in a substantial erosion of the life pension benefit by inflation.

The key will be how the court interprets the statutory language that the "payments" are increased. If the court focuses on the legislative intent, the COLA will begin at the time of injury or when P & S. If the court focus on the statutory language, it is a toss up. I do not think the statutory language is sufficiently clear to make a compelling case for the life pension beginning with payment.

I am recommending to clients that they defer the issue pending WCAB action where the applicant has raised the issue.
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