Cost of Living Adjustments for City of Chicago Workers

Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Claims

There are minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts for workers’ compensation in Illinois, but these shift in six-month increments. The Illinois Department of Employment Security makes public the changing statewide average weekly wage (SAWW). In order to determine this figure, the total amount of wages is divided by the total number of employees in the prior six months. The City of Chicago is a public employer that is self-insured to pay workers’ compensation benefits, and if you become permanently totally disabled or a loved one dies as a result of a workplace injury, you will receive benefits from the City for years. How does the law account for changes to the cost of living over long stretches of time? If you are concerned about cost of living adjustments as a City of Chicago worker, you can consult a seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your situation.

Cost of Living Adjustments for City of Chicago Workers

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, specific medical benefits and wages may be covered when an employee suffers a work-related injury. This includes disability payments that are calculated according to the average weekly wage. A worker who is permanently and totally disabled can get benefits in the form of partial wage replacement as well as medical coverage.

Once you receive a final decision on your City of Chicago workers’ compensation claim, and approximately two years have passed since your initial award, you may be able to get cost of living adjustments (COLA). There are procedures put in place by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to adjust benefits paid to injured workers as well as the surviving spouses of workers who have been killed in order to account for the increased cost of living over time.

Once you file your workers’ compensation claim, you may get an amount determined by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission's Rate Adjustment Fund. This amount shows the change in the amount of the weekly wage from the year before, to the current year. The difference in earnings is reflected in a payment made to the claimant on a monthly basis.

If your spouse passes away due to their work injury, you may be eligible for death benefits. Once you get a final decision about eligibility, you will get what is equal to 2/3 of your deceased spouse’s gross average weekly wage for the year before the injury. This sum will be attached to a cost of living adjustment that will be paid in monthly installments. If you have questions regarding the amount of benefits you are receiving, a knowledgeable work injury can review your case history and help you determine if any action is needed on your part.

Adjustments to Benefits

The Rate Adjustment Fund was established in 1975. It pays COLA increases to those who are either permanently and totally disabled, or the survivors of workers who have died on the job. The payments are made each month, starting on the second July 15th after the final decision that awarded death benefits or permanent total disability benefits was made. A decision is only considered final when no further appeals are pending.

The increase in your benefits will reflect an amount equal to the percentage increase of the SAWW. Those eligible for the COLA payment need to keep a current address on file. Every year, audits are sent to ensure that people getting paid are still eligible to get paid. You’ll need to sign an affidavit and get it notarized and return it within 15 days of receiving it if you are getting COLA adjustments. Additionally, you’ll need to give a copy of a current check stub from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or your employer to show that you continue to be eligible. The office also verifies living status through a computer program and checks. When you stop being eligible for permanent total disability benefits or survivors’ benefits, you will no longer get COLA payments.

Retain a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you’re concerned about cost of living adjustments for City of Chicago workers, you can talk to an experienced lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent workers in Rockford, Aurora, Champaign, and Quincy, as well as Winnebago, Sangamon, Cook, Adams, and Kane Counties. We examine the circumstances of our clients’ disabilities to determine whether there are also avenues for relief available outside of workers’ compensation. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.