What are “Supplemental Benefits” under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Laws?

Supplemental Benefits

If you suffered an injury in the workplace, and you are awarded permanent total disability benefits, will those benefits be fixed for the rest of your life? What happens as the cost of living increases? Is there any adjustment for inflation or other increases in the cost of care or living?

Fortunately, under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system, there are “supplemental benefits” that may be paid in addition to the basic weekly disability payments. These supplemental benefits are designed to compensate disabled workers for any changes in the cost of living. An annual assessment of the cost of living is conducted and weekly benefits may increase if there’s an acknowledged increase in the cost of living. It’s also important, though, to understand that supplemental benefits may be reduced if a worker qualifies for Social Security, Black Lung or employer-provided disability pension payments.

Unfortunately, the right to supplemental benefits is extremely limited, though. Under the New Jersey law, supplemental benefits are available only to totally and permanently disabled workers whose date of injury was prior to January 1, 1980, and to dependents of individuals who have died in a work-related accident or from a work-related illness before that date. Surviving dependents of a person who died from a work related accident after 1979 may still have a claim to supplemental benefits if they can show that the death was caused by an injury suffered before January 1, 1980.

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