Substitute Senate Bill No. 976
          Substitute Senate Bill No. 976

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-205


AN    ACT    RESTORING    WORKERS'    COMPENSATION
COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS FOR  WIDOWS,  WIDOWERS,
ORPHANS AND TOTALLY DISABLED WORKERS AND INCLUDING
CERTAIN ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF INJURY
UNDER WORKERS' COMPENSATION.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section  1. Subparagraph  (B)  of  subdivision
(16) of section  31-275 of the general statutes is
repealed and the  following is substituted in lieu
thereof:
    (B) "Personal injury" or "injury" shall not be
construed to include:
    (i) An injury  to  an  employee  which results
from his voluntary  participation  in any activity
the  major  purpose   of   which   is   social  or
recreational,  including,  but   not  limited  to,
athletic events, parties  and  picnics, whether or
not the employer  pays  some or all of the cost of
such activity;
    (ii) A mental  or emotional impairment, unless
such impairment arises  from  a physical injury or
occupational disease; [or]
    (iii) A mental  or  emotional impairment which
results from a  personnel  action,  including, but
not limited to, a transfer, promotion, demotion or
termination; OR
    (iv) NOTWITHSTANDING THE  PROVISIONS OF CLAUSE
(i) OF THIS  SUBPARAGRAPH,  "PERSONAL  INJURY"  OR
"INJURY" INCLUDES INJURIES  TO  EMPLOYEES OF LOCAL
OR REGIONAL BOARDS  OF  EDUCATION  RESULTING  FROM
PARTICIPATION IN A  SCHOOL-SPONSORED  ACTIVITY BUT
DOES NOT INCLUDE  ANY  INJURY INCURRED WHILE GOING
TO OR FROM  SUCH ACTIVITY. AS USED IN THIS CLAUSE,
"SCHOOL-SPONSORED  ACTIVITY"  MEANS  ANY  ACTIVITY
SPONSORED, RECOGNIZED OR  AUTHORIZED BY A BOARD OF
EDUCATION AND INCLUDES  ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED ON OR
OFF  SCHOOL  PROPERTY  AND  "PARTICIPATION"  MEANS
ACTING  AS A  CHAPERONE,  ADVISOR,  SUPERVISOR  OR
INSTRUCTOR AT THE REQUEST OF AN ADMINISTRATOR WITH
SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY OVER THE EMPLOYEE.
    Sec. 2. Subdivision  (1)  of subsection (b) of
section 31-280 of the general statutes is repealed
and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
    (1) Establish workers'  compensation districts
and  district  offices  within  the  state,  [and]
assign compensation commissioners to the districts
to hear all  matters  arising  under  this chapter
within the districts AND MAY REASSIGN COMPENSATION
COMMISSIONERS ONCE EACH  YEAR,  EXCEPT  THAT  WHEN
THERE IS A VACANCY, ILLNESS OR OTHER EMERGENCY, OR
WHEN UNEXPECTED CASELOAD  INCREASES  REQUIRE,  THE
CHAIRMAN MAY REASSIGN  COMPENSATION  COMMISSIONERS
MORE THAN ONCE EACH YEAR.
    Sec. 3. Subsection  (a)  of  section 31-306 of
the general statutes is repealed and the following
is substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a) Compensation shall  be  paid to dependents
on account of  death  resulting  from  an accident
arising out of  and in the course of employment or
from an occupational disease as follows:
    (1) Four thousand  dollars  shall  be paid for
burial expenses in  any  case  where  the employee
died on or  after  October 1, 1988. If there is no
one  wholly  or   partially   dependent  upon  the
deceased employee, the  burial  expenses  of  four
thousand dollars shall  be  paid to the person who
assumes the responsibility  of  paying the funeral
expenses.
    (2)  To  those   wholly   dependent  upon  the
deceased employee at  the  date  of  his injury, a
weekly compensation equal to seventy-five per cent
of the average  weekly  earnings  of  the deceased
calculated pursuant to  section 31-310, after such
earnings have been  reduced  by  any deduction for
federal or state  taxes,  or  both,  and  for  the
federal Insurance Contributions Act made from such
employee's total wages  received during the period
of calculation of  the  employee's  average weekly
wage pursuant to  said  section  31-310, as of the
date of the  injury  but not more than the maximum
weekly  compensation rate  set  forth  in  section
31-309 for the  year  in which the injury occurred
or less than twenty dollars weekly. (A) The weekly
compensation rate of  each  dependent  entitled to
receive  compensation  under  this  section  as  a
result of death  arising from a compensable injury
occurring on or after October 1, 1977, [and before
July  1, 1993,]  shall  be  adjusted  annually  as
provided in this  subdivision  as of the following
October first, and  each subsequent October first,
to provide the  dependent  with  a  cost-of-living
adjustment  in his  weekly  compensation  rate  as
determined as of  the  date  of  the  injury under
section 31-309. If the maximum weekly compensation
rate, as determined  under  the provisions of said
section 31-309, to  be effective as of any October
first following the date of the injury, is greater
than   the  maximum   weekly   compensation   rate
prevailing at the  date  of the injury, the weekly
compensation rate which  the  injured employee was
entitled to receive  at  the  date  of  the injury
shall  be  increased  by  the  percentage  of  the
increase in the  maximum  weekly compensation rate
required by the  provisions of said section 31-309
from the date of the injury to such October first.
The cost-of-living increases  provided  under this
subdivision shall be  paid by the employer without
any order or  award  from  the  commissioner.  The
adjustments shall apply  to  each  payment made in
the next succeeding twelve-month period commencing
with the October first next succeeding the date of
the  injury.  WITH   RESPECT   TO   ANY  DEPENDENT
RECEIVING BENEFITS ON  THE  EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS
ACT WITH RESPECT  TO  ANY  INJURY  OCCURRING ON OR
AFTER JULY 1,  1993, AND BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE
OF THIS ACT, SUCH BENEFIT SHALL BE RECALCULATED TO
THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT AS IF SUCH BENEFITS
HAD BEEN SUBJECT  TO  RECALCULATION ANNUALLY UNDER
THIS  SUBPARAGRAPH.  THE  DIFFERENCE  BETWEEN  THE
AMOUNT OF ANY  BENEFITS WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID
TO  SUCH  DEPENDENT  IF  SUCH  BENEFITS  HAD  BEEN
SUBJECT  TO  SUCH  RECALCULATION  AND  THE  ACTUAL
AMOUNT OF BENEFITS  PAID DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN
SUCH INJURY AND  SUCH  RECALCULATION SHALL BE PAID
TO THE DEPENDENT  NOT LATER THAN DECEMBER 1, 1997,
IN A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT. THE EMPLOYER OR HIS INSURER
SHALL BE REIMBURSED  BY THE SECOND INJURY FUND, AS
PROVIDED  IN  SECTION   31-354,  FOR  ADJUSTMENTS,
INCLUDING LUMP-SUM PAYMENTS,  PAYABLE  UNDER  THIS
SUBPARAGRAPH FOR DEATHS  FROM COMPENSABLE INJURIES
OCCURRING ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1993, AND BEFORE THE
EFFECTIVE DATE OF  THIS  ACT, UPON PRESENTATION OF
ANY VOUCHERS AND  INFORMATION  THAT  THE TREASURER
SHALL REQUIRE. (B) The weekly compensation rate of
each dependent entitled  to  receive  compensation
under this section  as  a  result of death arising
from a compensable  injury  occurring on or before
September  30,  1977,  shall  be  adjusted  as  of
October  1,  1977,   and   October  1,  1980,  and
thereafter, as provided  in  this  subdivision  to
provide the dependent  with partial cost-of-living
adjustments in his weekly compensation rate. As of
October 1, 1977, the weekly compensation rate paid
prior to October  1,  1977, to the dependent shall
be increased by  twenty-five per cent. The partial
cost-of-living  adjustment  provided   under  this
subdivision shall be  paid by the employer without
any  order or  award  from  the  commissioner.  In
addition, as of  October  1,  1980,  and  on  each
subsequent October first,  the weekly compensation
rate  of each  dependent  shall  be  increased  to
provide further cost-of-living  adjustments in his
weekly compensation rate.  If  the  maximum weekly
compensation   rate  as   determined   under   the
provisions  of said  section  31-309  existing  on
October 1, 1977, to be effective as of any October
first following October  1,  1979, is greater than
the compensation rate  prevailing  on  October  1,
1979,  the  weekly   compensation  rate  shall  be
increased by the percentage of the increase in the
maximum  compensation  rate   over   the   maximum
compensation  rate  of   October   1,   1979,   as
determined under the  provisions  of  said section
31-309 existing on  October  1,  1977. The cost of
the adjustments shall  be  paid by the employer or
his  insurance carrier  who  shall  be  reimbursed
therefor from the  Second  Injury Fund as provided
in  section  31-354   upon   presentation  of  any
vouchers and information  that the Treasurer shall
require.
    (3)  If  the  surviving  spouse  is  the  sole
presumptive dependent, compensation  shall be paid
until death or remarriage.
    (4) If there is a presumptive dependent spouse
surviving  and  also   one   or  more  presumptive
dependent  children, all  of  which  children  are
either children of  the  surviving  spouse  or are
living  with  the  surviving  spouse,  the  entire
compensation shall be paid to the surviving spouse
in the same  manner  and for the same period as if
the surviving spouse  were the sole dependent. If,
however, any of the presumptive dependent children
are neither children  of  the surviving spouse nor
living with the surviving spouse, the compensation
shall be divided  into  as many parts as there are
presumptive dependents. The shares of any children
having a presumptive  dependent  parent  shall  be
added to the share of the parent and shall be paid
to the parent.  The  share  of any dependent child
not having a  surviving  dependent parent shall be
paid to the  father  or  mother  of the child with
whom the child  may  be  living,  or  to the legal
guardian of the child, or to any other person, for
the benefit of  the child, as the commissioner may
direct.
    (5) If the  compensation  being  paid  to  the
surviving presumptive dependent  spouse terminates
for  any reason,  or  if  there  is  no  surviving
presumptive dependent spouse  at  the  time of the
death of the employee, but there is at either time
one or more  presumptive  dependent  children, the
compensation shall be  paid  to  the children as a
class, each child sharing equally with the others.
Each child shall  receive  compensation  until the
child reaches the  age  of eighteen or dies before
reaching age eighteen,  provided  the  child shall
continue  to  receive   compensation   up  to  the
attainment of the  age  of twenty-two if unmarried
and a full-time  student, except any child who has
attained the age  of  twenty-two while a full-time
student but has  not  completed  the  requirements
for, or received,  a  degree  from a postsecondary
educational institution shall  be  deemed  not  to
have attained age  twenty-two  until the first day
of  the first  month  following  the  end  of  the
quarter or semester in which he is enrolled at the
time, or if  he  is  not  enrolled in a quarter or
semester system, until  the first day of the first
month following the  completion  of  the course in
which he is enrolled or until the first day of the
third month beginning  after  such time, whichever
occurs first. When a child's participation ceases,
his share shall  be  divided  among  the remaining
eligible  dependent  children,   provided  if  any
child, when he  reaches the age of eighteen years,
is  physically  or   mentally  incapacitated  from
earning,  his  right  to  compensation  shall  not
terminate but shall  continue  for the full period
of incapacity.
    (6)  In  all   cases   where   there   are  no
presumptive dependents, but where there are one or
more  persons  wholly   dependent   in  fact,  the
compensation in case  of  death  shall  be divided
according  to  the   relative   degree   of  their
dependence.   Compensation  payable   under   this
subdivision shall be  paid for not more than three
hundred and twelve  weeks  from  the  date  of the
death of the  employee.  The compensation, if paid
to those wholly  dependent  in fact, shall be paid
at the full  compensation  rate. The compensation,
if paid to  those partially dependent in fact upon
the  deceased employee  as  of  the  date  of  the
injury, shall not, in total, be more than the full
compensation rate nor  less  than  twenty  dollars
weekly, nor, if the average weekly sum contributed
by the deceased at the date of the injury to those
partially dependent in  fact  is  more than twenty
dollars  weekly,  not   more   than   the  sum  so
contributed.
    (7) When the  sole presumptive dependents are,
at the time  of the injury, nonresident aliens and
the deceased has  in  this  state  some  person or
persons   who   are   dependent   in   fact,   the
commissioner  may  in   his  discretion  equitably
apportion the sums  payable as compensation to the
dependents.
    Sec.  4.  Section   31-307a   of  the  general
statutes is amended  by  adding  subsection (c) as
follows:
    (NEW) (c) On  and  after the effective date of
this act, the  weekly  compensation  rate  of each
employee entitled to  receive  compensation  under
section 31-307 as  a result of an injury sustained
on  or  after   July   1,   1993,   which  totally
incapacitates the employee  permanently,  shall be
adjusted as provided  in  this  subsection  as  of
October 1, 1997,  or  the  October first following
the injury date,  whichever is later, and annually
on each subsequent  October  first, to provide the
injured employee with  a cost-of-living adjustment
in his weekly  compensation  rate as determined as
of the date of injury under section 31-309. If the
maximum weekly compensation  rate,  as  determined
under the provisions of said section 31-309, to be
effective as of  any  October  first following the
date of the  injury,  is  greater than the maximum
weekly compensation rate prevailing as of the date
of injury, the  weekly compensation rate which the
injured employee was entitled to receive as of the
date  of  injury   shall   be   increased  by  the
percentage of the  increase  in the maximum weekly
compensation rate required  by  the  provisions of
said section 31-309 from the date of the injury to
such October first. The cost-of-living adjustments
provided under this  subdivision  shall be paid by
the employer without  any  order or award from the
commissioner. The adjustments  shall apply to each
payment made in  the  next succeeding twelve-month
period commencing with  the effective date of this
act or the  October first next succeeding the date
of injury, whichever is later. With respect to any
employee receiving benefits  on the effective date
of  this act  with  respect  to  any  such  injury
occurring on or after July 1, 1993, and before the
effective date of  this act or with respect to any
employee  who  was   adjudicated   to  be  totally
incapacitated permanently subsequent  to  the date
of  his  injury   or   is   totally  incapacitated
permanently due to  the fact that the employee has
been totally incapacitated by such an injury for a
period of five  years  or more, such benefit shall
be recalculated to the effective date of this act,
to the date  of such adjudication or to the end of
such five-year period,  as  the case may be, as if
such benefits had  been  subject  to recalculation
annually under the  provisions of this subsection.
The difference between  the amount of any benefits
which would have  been  paid  to  such employee if
such   benefits   had   been   subject   to   such
recalculation and the  actual  amount  of benefits
paid during the  period  between  such  injury and
such recalculation shall  be paid to the dependent
not later than  December  1,  1997, or thirty days
after such adjudication or the end of such period,
as the case  may  be,  in  a lump-sum payment. The
employer or his insurer shall be reimbursed by the
Second Injury Fund, as provided in section 31-354,
for  adjustments,  including   lump-sum  payments,
payable  under  this  subsection  for  compensable
injuries occurring on  or  after July 1, 1993, and
before  the  effective  date  of  this  act,  upon
presentation of any  vouchers and information that
the Treasurer shall require.
    Sec. 5. Notwithstanding  any  provision of the
general statutes to  the contrary, no employee who
received compensation under  section 31-307 of the
general  statutes  or   dependent   who   received
compensation under section  31-306  of the general
statutes shall be required to reimburse the Second
Injury    Fund    for     any    overpayment    in
cost-of-living-adjustments determined by the State
Treasurer in accordance with the decision in Karyn
Gil  v. Courthouse  One  et  al.,  239  Conn.  676
(1997).
    Sec. 6. This  act shall take effect October 1,
1997.

Approved June 24, 1997