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Average Weekly Wage Declines for 2020

Maryland Workers’ Compensation AWW Declines for First Time in More than 30 years

For the first in more than 30 years, the average weekly wage used in Maryland workers’ compensation cases declined.  In 2019, the average weekly wage was $1,116.00.  In 2020, the new average weekly wage is $1,080.00.  This is disappointing on many levels.

Average weekly wage serves to provide a cap on all kinds of benefits available to injured workers.  For instance, your weekly wage replacement benefit – your temporary total disability – when you are entirely out of work for a workers’ comp injury cannot be higher than the AWW.  Therefore, you might make $1,800/week, but if you get hurt and are out of work, you aren’t getting a check for more than $1,080.00.  Therefore, you’re already hurting and out of work and your income is getting chopped significantly.  It makes an already tough situation worse.  To see the cap is less this year than last is disappointing to say the least.

Moreover, the amount of permanent benefits you are entitled to receive are also decreased with the State AWW decreasing.

Additionally, as salaries, especially blue-collar salaries, stagnate at best, medical costs are on the rise.  According to PWC, medical inflation has been substantial over the last 13 years.  Medical inflation has been no less than 5.5% per year over that time period.  2019 to 2020 is anticipated at a 6% increase.  Therefore, while the wage went down, the medical costs went up.  The long-term impact of that is substantial.  More on that in future writings.

Aside from the way that it hurts injured workers, it’s disappointing that the average worker makes less.  Society costs more.  Medical costs more.  Food costs more.  Education costs more.  Rich people make more.  But the average person makes less.  That’s not just disheartening, it’s obviously unsustainable.

Below is the chart of average weekly wage as reported to the Workers’ Compensation Commission by the MD Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.