In 2015 Attorney Virginia Hunt, along with a group of other claimant’s attorneys, determined that the Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) had been slacking on their statutory duties to update the actuarial annuity table used in the calculation of permanent partial disability (PPD) awards. It was determined that the actuary table being used had not been updated for something like over 15 years. This led to claimant’s getting much less than they deserved. After Ms. Hunt passed other attorneys continued the fight and the DIR has been updating their tables ever since. The new 2020 actuarial tables released on June 23, 2020, go into effect on July 1, 2020.
What does this mean for injured workers?
PPD awards should increase! With the interest rate dropping from 2.98% in 2019 to 1.46% in 2020, injured workers will see an increase in their awards. These actuarial tables are used in combination with an injured worker’s average monthly wage, age, and percentage of impairment to calculate the PPD award.
It is necessary to have the actuarial tables and the correct statutory formula to correctly calculate the award. (See DIR forms 9a and 9b). Injured workers with the same percentages of impairment for the exact same injury will receive different PPD awards depending on how much money they were making at the time of their accidents, and how old they are.
The PPD award needs be calculated at the time it is accepted. Meaning if you received your award offer letter on June 26, 2020, but do not accept it until July 5, 2020, then the insurer will need to recalculate the award using the July 1, 2020, actuarial tables. The day the award is accepted does not matter; it is the month in which it is accepted that is important.
The new actuarial annuity table can be found here.
An injured worker may accept a PPD award in a lump sum or may elect to receive the award in installments until she is 70 years old. Awards taken in a lump sum are reduced to present value. If the injured worker’s impairment was greater than 30%, only the equivalent of a 30% PPD can be taken in a lump sum. The percentage over 30% is paid in installments.
Although the PPD percentage is not based on an injured worker’s ability to return to work, the percentage does govern the length of a retraining program that can be offered if the injured worker is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. (See this blog on vocational rehabilitation for more information.)
Please note that this is only a summary of how permanent partial disability awards are determined in Nevada. Pertinent statutes and regulations are: NRS 616C.100, NRS 616C.490, NRS 616C.495, NRS 616C.110, NAC 616C.1162, NAC 616C.103. Many attorneys offer a free review of a PPD rating report for signs of obvious errors.