The Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council has approved a bill that would increase the permanent partial disability (PPD) rate for injured Wisconsin workers for the first time in 5 years. The PPD rate – which is paid for permanent damage to a body part after end of healing – has been stuck at a maximum of $362 per week since 2017. With the proposed change, that rate would increase to a maximum of $415 per week for injuries after the effective date of the legislation in 2022, and to a maximum of $430 per week for injuries on or after January 1, 2023.
This change has been a long time coming, but still needs to be passed by the state legislature to become law. Attorney Luke Kingree is counsel for Labor on the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council. He was heavily involved in negotiations on the approved bill, advocating for injured workers’ benefits. Traditionally, the WCAC approves a bill amending the Wisconsin worker’s compensation law every 2 years which is then signed by the state legislature. In the past 10 years, only 2 such bills have passed the legislature due to political battles. The Council is composed of representatives of management and labor, and agrees on balanced changes to the law that will benefit both sides free from the instability that would be caused by the legislature passing bills that favor only the party in power.
PPD benefits are paid to injured workers for the permanent damage caused by a work injury. It is paid regardless of work status, and usually comes in monthly checks from the worker’s compensation carrier. PPD payments are not a “settlement.” It must be paid unless the carrier has a defense to those benefits. If you are assessed with PPD and the carrier disagrees with the rating, or hires its own doctor to provide a competing rating, you should contact us right away. You will need an attorney to fight for the full PPD rating assigned by your doctor. You may also be entitled to other benefits after end of healing – especially if you sustain a wage loss because of permanent restrictions – that the carrier will not pay unless you have a skilled attorney fighting for you.