TN 1 (10-08)

DI 52120.070 Hawaii Workers’ Compensation (WC)

A. Types of WC payments

All benefits are paid in weekly installments but a worker may apply to have benefits paid biweekly, semi-monthly, monthly or quarterly instead.

  1. Temporary Total (TT) - Maximum period is duration of the disability.

  2. Temporary Partial (TP) – Maximum period is duration of the disability.

  3. Permanent Total (PT) - Maximum period is duration of the disability (Also, see DI 52120.070B.1. below)

  4. Permanent Partial (PP) - Duration based on scheduled loss.

  5. Disfigurement benefits – Paid in addition to PP or PT; cannot exceed $30,000.00. Disfigurement benefits are offsettable. This is a Change of Position (COP) from previous POMS instructions. The effective date for the COP is 09/27/2008. Prior determinations based on previous instructions stating Hawaii disfigurement benefits are not offsettable are considered correct and will not be reopened or revised. 

B. Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs)

Hawaii does not provide for cost-of-living adjustments for any type of WC payment except for PT Supplemental Allowance explained below.

1. PT Supplemental Allowance

Hawaii pays a PT supplemental allowance in the form of increased rate as follows:

  • Paid effective every 10 years beginning 01/01/1992.

  • Amount of the payment based on the relationship between the worker’s weekly income benefit and the maximum weekly income benefit in effect on 01/01/1992 and updated every ten years thereafter.

  • Paid to workers entitled to PT and injured prior to the January 1 effective date (01/01/1992, 01/01/2002, and so on) whether they continue to receive WC or not.

  • Paid by the employer with no application required.

  • The Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations sends affected workers an official notice, called a Decision, after the PT supplemental allowances are calculated.

    Example 1: Prior to 1992, a worker is receiving PT of $84.00 per week and supplemental weekly allowance of $75.52, which is paid from the Special Fund (see DI 52120.070E. below). Total offsettable WC weekly rate is $159.52 (84.00 + 75.52).

  • Effective 01/1992 the supplemental allowance increases to $242.29 per week. The $84.00 per week remains the same. So the total offsettable WC weekly rate effective 01/1992 is $326.29 (84.00 + 242.29).

  • Effective 01/2002, the supplemental allowance increases to $337.12 per week, so the total offsettable WC weekly rate is $421.12 (84.00 + 337.12).

    Example 2: For a worker injured in 2003 and awarded PT, the supplemental allowance will be payable in 2012 based on the ratio of the WC benefit to the maximum weekly wage effective January 1, 2012.

C. Attorney fees

  1. Attorney fees are determined on individual case basis and are usually a lien upon any workers’ compensation benefits due the claimant.

  2. Fees must be approved by the Disability Compensation Division, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, or by the appellate Board or court deciding an appeal.

D. Retirement insurance benefit (RIB) considerations

Hawaii does not offset its WC for SSA retirement benefits

E. Special Fund

This fund pays benefits to injured workers for second injuries, uninsured, and insolvent employers, PT supplemental allowances, attendant services, and concurrent employment.

F. Commutation of periodic WC payments

  1. A disabled worker, dependents or employer may apply to have periodic benefit payments commuted to one or more lump sum payments. Such payments, if they fully discharge the employer’s WC liability, meet SSA’s definition of a lump sum for proration purposes.

  2. The portion of the periodic benefit payments commuted to one or more lump sum payments are computed at 4 percent true discount compounded annually. This mandatory 4 percent lump sum discount is not offsettable per DI 52150.060B. - LS amounts which are not offset.

G. Lump sum (LS) settlements

Hawaii’s statutes do not allow for an official amendment of a LS WC award solely to afford a claimant a more advantageous offset computation.

H. References