How much are you owed through Arizona’s workers’ compensation wage loss (indemnity) benefits?
Your average monthly wage (AMW) determines the amount you will ultimately receive in each workers’ compensation check. Ensuring the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) gets your AMW correct is essential for receiving maximum benefits.
Each year, the ICA sets the statutory maximum average monthly wage amount. This amount increases each year to keep up with inflation. In 2021, the maximum monthly benefit an injured worker could receive was $5,030.33. The maximum monthly benefit awarded for injuries in 2020 was 4,888.56.
Upon learning this, you may now be asking:
How is your average monthly wage determined?
Calculating your average monthly wage
When you report your injury to your employer, they will calculate your average monthly wage by taking your yearly wages and dividing them by the number of days you worked in the year. This amount is sent to the ICA.
Once the ICA receives this number, they should issue a Notice of Average Monthly Wage, which you should receive in the mail. It provides information on your average monthly wage, so you can determine your appropriate benefit amount.
What if the average monthly wage is inaccurate?
It’s highly important your average monthly wage is correct. Inaccuracies will cause your benefit amount to be lower for the life of your workers’ compensation payments. The ICA gives workers 90 days to dispute the notice if they feel it’s inaccurate. Workers have the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge who will be responsible for determining if the notice is correct.
What if you recently started working?
When calculating your average monthly wage, your employer will typically present wage information from the last year of employment. Sometimes, however, this is not a fair determination—for example, when a person recently started working for a company.
In such cases, the average monthly income amount is typically determined by the wages earned within the last 30 days, whether with the current employer or another.
What if your employer or their insurance company disputes your claim?
Just as you have the right to dispute the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim, so does your employer or their insurance company. While many injured workers become stressed when faced with a dispute, you shouldn’t panic.
If your benefit amount is being disputed or your claim has been denied, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys immediately.
Employers and their insurance companies may dispute workers’ compensation claims for multiple reasons. For instance:
- Employers may not agree with the facts of the case.
- Employers may dispute whether the injury occurred on the worksite.
- Employers may dispute a claim because of employee misconduct.
- Employers have the right to dispute if the deadline to submit a claim has passed.
What if your claim is denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you should receive a Notice of Claim Status detailing the reasons why. This notice usually comes from your employer’s insurance company. If you receive this notice, you have 90 days to appeal the decision to the Industrial Commission of Arizona.
You have the right to appeal any decision made by your employer, their insurance company or the ICA.
Getting legal help is essential
If you have reported your work-related injury or illness to your employer on time, it’s then up to your employer to report the injury to their insurance provider. Your employer has 10 days to report the accident to the ICA and their insurance carrier. Once the claim is in the hands of the insurance carrier, they have 21 days to accept or deny the claim.
Injured workers in Arizona have certain rights afforded to them under the law. If your employer is unfairly disputing your claim, or there are issues with the insurance carrier or the ICA, you should contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney immediately.
At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, we fight passionately and diligently for the rights of our clients. We will ensure that your rights to full and fair workers’ compensation benefits are not infringed upon.
The first step towards receiving the benefits you are owed is scheduling an initial consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney near you. Don’t allow your employer or their insurance company to give you the runaround.