DI 52120.095 Kansas Workers' Compensation (WC)
The Division of Workers' Compensation of the Department of Labor administers Kansas WC. WC is provided through private carriers but employers can self-insure.
A. Types of WC payments
Kansas law regarding WC payments is found in K.S.A. 44, Article 5 and 5a, and Regulations 51. All periodic payments are subject to the state maximum and minimum amounts. The maximum amount is based on the date of injury; the minimum WC payment is $25 per week.
An individual who was partially disabled but whose injury is not covered by the ‘schedule’ (as described below) receives the greater of the following: the percentage of functional impairment (PP General Disability) or TP. Individuals earning 90 percent of their pre-injury wage are limited to functional impairment WC.
1. Temporary Partial (TP)
Payment is based on 66.6667 percent of the difference between the individual’s average gross weekly wage before and after the injury. TP is paid until the wage loss is no longer present, or the benefit maximum of $100,000.00 is reached, whichever comes first.
2. Temporary Total (TT)
Although TT is paid for the duration of the disability, it is limited to a maximum of $100,000.00. The number of weeks of TT paid is deducted from the allowable number of weeks of PP awarded for both ‘scheduled’ and ‘general’ disability.
3. Permanent Total (PT)
PT is paid for the duration of the disability, up to a maximum of $125,000.00. If the individual’s condition improves, PT may be followed by PP General Disability.
4. Permanent Partial (PP) Scheduled Disability
This PP is paid when the individual sustains complete or partial loss of use of a body part, such as an arm. Compensation is based on 66.6667 percent of the individual’s average gross weekly wage (or a percentage of that amount for only partial loss of use) and is limited to a certain number of weeks as determined by law (K.S.A. 44-510d) and referred to as the ’schedule.’ An additional ‘healing period’ of 10 percent of the schedule or partial schedule (limited to 15 weeks) may be granted in cases of amputation.
5. Permanent Partial (PP) General Disability
This PP is paid when the employee sustains permanent partial disability not specifically covered by the schedule. Compensation is based on 66.6667 percent of the individual’s average gross weekly wage times the percentage of disability remaining after recovery (referred to as ‘functional impairment’). It is limited to 415 weeks and cannot exceed $50,000.00.
6. Lump sum settlements
Kansas law requires that compensation be paid for permanent disability by the week until paid in full unless all parties agree to a lump sum payment to close the claim. The settlement must be in best interests of the individual, and must be filed with the WC Court in order to be binding.
B. Cost-of-living Adjustments (COLA)
Kansas does not provide COLAs on its WC.
C. Attorney fees
Attorney fees are limited to 25 percent. Only attorneys are allowed to represent claimants.
D. Retirement insurance benefit (RIB) considerations
Generally Kansas offsets WC payments dollar for dollar for receipt of RIB.
E. Time limitations for filing claims
INJURY: The individual must file a written claim with his employer within 200 days of the date of injury (or receipt of last payment of WC or medical treatment).
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE: The individual must file a written claim with his employer within one year of onset of disability from an occupational disease
APPEAL: The individual must file for a hearing within 3 years of injury, or within 2 years of last payment of WC or medical treatment.
F. Verifying WC payment amounts
Carriers are the best source of information.
WC records are maintained by the Kansas Workers Compensation Court. However, as their Division of WC does not require carriers to provide records of periodic payments, only limited payment information is available. Their records do contain information regarding the employer and carrier. Designated personnel in ODO, MAMPSC, and Kansas FOs have access to these records.
G. WC forms
Little payment information can be obtained from WC forms other than Settlement Agreements.