Permanent Total Disability Committee
November 28, 2006
Members present: James Buchen, Ralph Herrmann, Jodie M. Connor, Neill De Clercq, Ron Kent, Scott Shaver, Allison Hanson, Abby Butler, Janell Knutson, Heather Thomas and John Conway
Excused: Allison Hanson
Staff present: Frances Huntley-Cooper and Kathy Froehlich
Public Attendees: John Metcalf, Lynne Kossow, Wendy DeBlaey and Patricia Grillot
The Committee reviewed and approved the minutes with the addition of Allison Hanson and correction of spelling for Ralph Herrmann.
The committee reviewed the handouts and discussed the balance in the Work Injury Supplemental Benefit Fund and changes over the past 10 years with the low point resulting from the 5 year moratorium on payments into the Fund from 1994-1999. The committee looked at potential areas for savings and trends in expenditures. The full impact of the increase in supplemental benefits is not reflected as the reimbursements are made on an annual basis. The number of barred hearing loss claims continues to grow. The payment for hearing aids is a large percent of these payments.
In reviewing Handouts #4 and 5 (10 year history of PTD claim totals and review of number entering & leaving the system) the committee questioned if it is possible to identify those that are statutory PTD claims. These would include claims where payment was made after a finding of fact order and those with PTD payments without an order but with a dismemberment payment.
The committee requested that the Division obtain information and evaluate benefit changes for consideration of possible savings including:
- Number of PTD claimants expired prior to 1000 wks of benefits being paid;
- Number of hearing loss claims filed against fund after claim paid or compromised by carrier/employer;
- Average age upon death of PTD claimant;
- Should there be limitations – where, how long, to what age
- Should benefits be indexed;
- Should a total or partial Social Security retirement offset be required;
- Should death benefits for PTD employees be eliminated is the death is not a result of the work injury;
- Should Second Injury Fund benefits be eliminated;
- Should a job search be required for all employees claiming loss of earning capacity;
- Should barred hearing loss claims be eliminated?
It was recommended to use the Work Injury Supplement Benefit Fund to cover the increase for the additional 3 years now and look at savings later that could be used for future increases.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 2007 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Clarion.