For years now it has been widely understood that despite having among the nation's lowest maximum weekly benefits, workers' compensation costs for New York employers were among the nation's highest. In most states, the maximum weekly benefit automatically increases as the state average weekly wage increases. In New York, specific legislation had to be passed each time benefits were raised. New York's $400 maximum weekly benefit had been in effect since 1992. Only four U.S. jurisdictions had a lower maximum weekly benefit.
With such low weekly benefits and general consensus that workers' compensation claims frequency has been declining nationwide for five or more years now, why then have employer costs in New York been so high? The answer lies in the lifetime duration of nonscheduled permanent partial disability, or NS PPD, claims.
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