In Vermont, the dollar amount of your weekly workers compensation check is determined by calculating your “Average Weekly Wage” and your “Weekly Compensation Rate.” There are very specific rules that determine how these amounts are calculated.
What is Average Weekly Wage?
The “Average Weekly Wage” or “AWW,” is your average gross wages prior to getting hurt – the amount you earned before you were injured at work. This is determined by taking an average of 26 weeks of gross wages prior to the date of injury.
There are a few rules that apply in figuring out your AWW:
- The 26 weeks are based on your regular pay periods.
- Use Gross Wages (your compensation BEFORE any deductions for taxes, insurance, etc.)
- Don’t include the pay period that includes the day you stopped working.
- Week 1 is the pay period PRIOR TO the date you stopped working because of the accident. For example, if the day of the accident was 5/15/19, then the entire Week 1 pay period should be prior to 5/15/19 (e.g. 5/5/19 to 5/11/19). Week 2 is the week before that (e.g. 4/28/19 to 5/4/19), etc.
- Don’t include any weeks where you worked less than 1/2 of your normal weekly schedule. For example, if your normal schedule is 38 hours per week, don’t include weeks where you were paid less than 19 hours. (Note if you delete any weeks because of this, you will be averaging less than 26 weeks.)
- If you are provided room, board, or other “freebies” (like free food, or lift tickets, etc.), the value of those items need to be added in.
The AWW is determined by adding all the wages up and dividing by 26 weeks (or however many weeks are included in the calculation.)
For example, if you took out two weeks because you worked less than half time those weeks, you would divide by 24 weeks. Or if you only worked at the company for 20 weeks prior to getting injured, divide by 20 weeks.
The insurance company is supposed to file a “Form 25” which shows the weeks that it used to determine the AWW. Ask the insurance company to send you a copy to review.
(Download that form here.)
How to Determine Your Weekly Compensation Rate for Worker’s Compensation
Once you’ve figured out your AWW, the next calculation is to determine your “Weekly Compensation Rate” or “WCR.” This is the rate on which your weekly benefit checks are based.
It’s a little bit complicated, but here’s how to determine your Weekly Compensation Rate in Vermont:
- Multiply your AWW by 90%. If this amount is less than $451 (the minimum rate), your WCR is the 90% amount
- If 90% of your AWW is greater than $451, then multiply your AWW by 66.67%. Your AWW is the greater of $451 or the 66.67% amountץ
- There is a maximum cap on WCR of $1353
WCR Example 1: AWW is $325
- 90% x $325 = $292.50
- $292.50 is less than the minimum rate of $451, so the WCR is $292.50
WCR Example 2: AWW is $600
- 90% x $600 = $540
- $540 is greater than the minimum rate of $451
- 66.67% x $600 = $400
- $400 is less than the minimum rate of $437, so the WCR is $451
WCR Example 3: AWW is $2100
- 66.67% x $2100 = $1400.07
- $1400.07 is greater than the maximum cap of $1353, so the WCR is $1353
NOTE: The insurance company is supposed to send you a “Form 32” which shows your weekly compensation rate. (You can download that form here). Make sure you review this form very carefully before signing it.
Do you need help making sure you’re receiving the workers’ compensation check that you deserve?
Even if you are not sure you need or want a lawyer, feel free to email me.