All compensation rates are based on a calculation of the claimant’s weekly wage. In every case, the actual benefit amount requires reference to the National Average Weekly Wage as a ‘maximum’ on the possible benefits. The Department of Labor determining the National Average Weekly Wage as follows:
As soon as practicable after June 30 of each year, and in any event prior to October 1 of such year, the Secretary shall determine the national average weekly wage for the three consecutive calendar quarters ending June 30. Such determination shall be the applicable national average weekly wage for the period beginning with October 1 of that year and ending with September 30 of the next year.
See 33 U.S.C. §906(b)(3).
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the annual rate increase effective October 1, 2011 based on a newly-calculated National Average Weekly Wage (NAWW).
The new NAWW effective October 1, 2011, is $647.60. This represents a 3.05% cost of living increase over October 1, 2010. All beneficiaries receiving permanent total disability or related death benefits as of September 30, 2011, receive a 3.05% increase in their weekly rate.
The new NAWW also establishes the new maximum and minimum rates under section 906(b); effective October 1, 2011, the maximum weekly rate under the Longshore Act is 200% of the NAWW, so the new maximum rate is $1,295.20 per week. The minimum rate is 50% of the NAWW, so the new minimum rate is $323.80 per week.