A collegue recently brought this issue to my attention and I thought it would be a learning opportunity to discuss an E/C’s right to offset temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits with Claimant’s entitlement to unemployment compensation (UC) benefits.

Once again, it is important for E/C’s to send a DWC-30 form to Claimant’s to get authorization for UC information.  Without this information, an E/C is not entitled to take an offset against future TPD benefits.  

So, send the form!  Send the form!  Send the. . . Uh, you get the idea. . .

Section 440.15(10) (b) mandates an offset for UC benefits.  What confused my collegue  was how to calculate the offset.  My collegue argued for the 80/80 method, or use the UC benefits as wages and determine if it is at least 80% of Claimant’s AWW.  If UC benefits are less than 80%, you calculate the difference between the two numbers and pay 80% of that difference.    This is mandated in s. 440.15(4)(a)

However, s. 440.15(10)(b) calls for a different calculation.  That section confirms that UC benefits are shall be primary and that TPD benefits shall be supplemental only.   In other words, UC benefits act as a replacement (at first) for TPD benefits.  The sum of the two benefits cannot exceed the amount of weekly TPD benefits that are due.  Per the statute, no 80/80 calculation is required. 

You simply add the UC benefits and the TPD together.  If they are more than the weekly TPD amount you don’t pay.  If theyare less, you pay the difference.  This is considered a “true offset.”

The best way to illustrate the difference between the two is this example:  Claimant has an AWW of $300.00.   If you take 80% of the AWW, you get $240.00.    The TPD weekly rate is $192.00.   If Claimant earns UC benefits of $200.00 a week, what is the offset? 

If we use the 80/80 formula, we subtract $240 (80% of AWW) from $200 (UC) and we get $40.    And, 80% of $40 is $32.  This is the weekly amount that would be owed.   But, we know this is wrong.  So, let’s look at the correct way and see what offset, if any, would be in effect.

At $200 a week in UC benefits, Claimant is already above his TPD rate of $192.00.  Since UC is primary, we see Claimant is making more money on UC, therefore we pay nothing for that week.  Obviously, $0.00 is cheaper than $32.00.  It is clear the Legislature intended E/C’s to take the large offset since UC benefits are not “wages.” 

Of course, all of this moot if the E/C does not send the DWC-30 forms