New changes to Vermont workers’ compensation in effect

Workers compensation - changes - Vermont

Among them include coverage for dependent children, and special coverage for firefighters.

New rules for workers compensation benefits in Vermont have become effective, including temporary total disability, as well as for dependent children, and for the work search requirement for injured people who are making their way back into the job market.

The changes became effective at the start of the month as a result of new state legislation.

The changes to Vermont workers compensation were a component of a bill that was primarily aimed at addressing childcare and early education. It had been vetoed by Governor Philip B. Scott as it required a new payroll tax for the childcare services. However, the state Legislature overrode the governor’s veto.

Workers compensation - Early childhood education

Simultaneously, another law signed by Governor Scott in May became effective. In this case, it set rules for firefighters with cancer so that they can qualify for coverage. According to the Vermont Department of Labor, the new statutory changes became effective within the work week that began on Sunday, July 2, 2023.

Vermont’s workers’ compensation temporary partial disability benefits calculation has also changed.

With the hope of incentivizing low wage earners to head back to the job instead of staying on disability as long as possible, lawmakers have changed the calculation for temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. TPD has previously been calculated as two-thirds of the difference between the average weekly wage (AWW) of an employee before becoming injured and the amount that individual earns throughout each week of disability.

The new calculation requires a carrier to tally the employee’s entitlement to temporary total disability (TTD), taking into consideration annually adjusted minimum and maximum benefits in order to arrive at the compensation rate (CR). From there, the wages actually earned are subtracted to arrive at the TPD benefit. This calculation is applicable unless the employee would receive a larger TPD benefit through the old version of the TPD calculation. No matter which way the total is calculated, the new TPD dependent benefit is tacked on at the end.

At the start of the month, the weekly workers compensation benefit for each dependent child under 21 years rises from $10 to $20. Moreover, that dependent benefit is applicable to TPD benefits as well as TTD benefits.

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