Substitute Senate Bill No. 210
          Substitute Senate Bill No. 210

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 98-104


AN  ACT  CONCERNING  WORKERS'  COMPENSATION  DEATH
BENEFITS,  COST-OF-LIVING  ADJUSTMENTS   AND   THE
SECOND INJURY FUND ADVISORY BOARD.


    Be it enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section 1. (NEW)  (a)  Not  later  than thirty
days  after  the   date  an  employer  or  insurer
discontinues paying weekly  disability benefits to
an  injured  employee   under  the  provisions  of
chapter 568 of  the  general  statutes  due to the
death of the  injured  employee,  the  employer or
insurer shall send by registered or certified mail
to  the  last   address   to   which  the  injured
employee's  workers' compensation  benefit  checks
were mailed, a  written  notice stating, in simple
language, that dependents of the deceased employee
may be eligible  for  death benefits under chapter
568 of the general statutes, subject to the filing
and  benefit  eligibility   requirements  of  said
chapter.
    (b)  Not  later  than  October  1,  1998,  the
chairman of the  Workers'  Compensation Commission
shall develop a  standard form that may be used by
employers  and  insurers  to  provide  the  notice
required under subsection (a) of this section.
    (c) The failure  of  an employer or insurer to
comply with the  notice requirements of subsection
(a) of this  section  shall not excuse a dependent
of a deceased  employee  from  making  a claim for
compensation within the  time limits prescribed by
subsection (a) of  section  31-294c of the general
statutes  unless the  dependent  of  the  deceased
employee  demonstrates,  in  the  opinion  of  the
commissioner,  that  he  was  prejudiced  by  such
failure to comply.  Each  dependent  who,  in  the
opinion of the  commissioner, demonstrates that he
was prejudiced by  the  failure  of an employer or
insurer to comply  with the notice requirements of
subsection (a) of this section shall be granted an
extension of time  in  which  to  file a notice of
claim   for   compensation   with   the   deceased
employee's employer or insurer pursuant to section
31-294c  of  the   general   statutes,   but  such
extension shall not  exceed  the  period  of  time
equal to the interim between the end of the thirty
day period set  forth  in  subsection  (a) of this
section and the  date  the  notice  required under
said subsection was actually mailed.
    Sec. 2. Subsection  (a)  of  section 31-306 of
the general statutes,  as  amended by section 3 of
public act 97-205,  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, 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  OR OCTOBER 1, 1990, WHICHEVER
IS LATER, 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 OR OCTOBER 1,
1990, WHICHEVER IS  LATER,  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] PUBLIC ACT  97-205 with respect to any injury
occurring on or after July 1, 1993, and before the
effective date of  [this  act]  PUBLIC ACT 97-205,
such  benefit  shall   be   recalculated   to  the
effective date of  [this act] PUBLIC ACT 97-205 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]
PUBLIC  ACT  97-205,   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 AS OF OCTOBER
1, 1990, 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] 1990, 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.  3.  Section   31-307a   of  the  general
statutes, as amended  by  section  4 of public act
97-205,  is  repealed   and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)  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  October  1,  1969, and before July 1,
1993,   which  totally   disables   the   employee
continuously  or  intermittently  for  any  period
extending  to  the   following  October  first  or
thereafter, shall be adjusted annually as provided
in this subsection  as  of  the  following October
first,  and  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  the  injury under
section 31-309. If the maximum weekly compensation
rate as determined under the provisions of 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 the injury, the weekly compensation
rate which the  injured  employee  was entitled to
receive at the  date  of  the injury OR OCTOBER 1,
1990, WHICHEVER IS  LATER,  shall  be increased by
the percentage of  the  increase  in  the  maximum
weekly   compensation   rate   required   by   the
provisions of section  31-309 from the date of the
injury OR OCTOBER  1, 1990, WHICHEVER IS LATER, to
such October first.  The  cost-of-living increases
provided under this  subsection  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.
    (b)  The  weekly  compensation  rate  of  each
employee entitled to  receive  compensation  under
section 31-307 as  a result of an injury sustained
prior to October  1,  1969, which has disabled the
employee for a  period  extending  to  October  1,
1969,  or  thereafter  shall  be  adjusted  as  of
October  1,  1969,  and  annually  thereafter,  as
provided in this subsection to provide the injured
employee with a  partial cost-of-living adjustment
in  his  weekly   compensation  rate.  The  weekly
compensation rate paid  prior  to October 1, 1969,
to the injured  employee  shall be increased as of
October 1, 1969,  by  the  amount that the maximum
weekly  compensation  rate   as  determined  under
section  31-309  to   be  effective  for  injuries
sustained on or  after October 1, 1969, is greater
than  the  maximum  weekly  compensation  rate  as
determined under section  31-309  to  be effective
for injuries sustained  on  or  after  October  1,
1965, or the  date  of  the  injury,  whichever is
later, but not more than fifteen dollars per week.
Thereafter, increases, if  any, for cost-of-living
as provided in  subsection  (a)  of  this  section
shall  be  added   to   the   amount   of   weekly
compensation payable as  of the date of the injury
[and  the  initial  adjustment  provided  in  this
subsection]  OR  OCTOBER  1,  1990,  WHICHEVER  IS
LATER.  The  partial   cost-of-living  adjustments
provided under this  subsection  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 twelve-month period, on
or  after  October   1,  1969.  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.
    (c) On and  after  the effective date of [this
act] PUBLIC ACT  97-205,  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  October  1,  1997,  or the
October first next  succeeding the date of injury,
whichever is later.  With  respect to any employee
receiving  benefits  on   October  1,  1997,  with
respect to any  such  injury occurring on or after
July 1, 1993,  and before October 1, 1997, 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 October 1, 1997, 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 October 1, 1997,
upon presentation of  any vouchers and information
that the Treasurer shall require.
    Sec. 4. Not  later  than  sixty days after the
effective date of  this act, the weekly benefit of
any person receiving  benefits pursuant to section
31-306 of the general statutes, as amended by this
act, or section  31-307a  of the general statutes,
as amended by  this  act, shall be recalculated to
the effective date of this act as if such benefits
had  been  subject   to   recalculation   annually
according to the  provisions of said sections. Not
later than sixty  days after the effective date of
this act, any  employer,  insurer  or  other party
responsible for providing weekly benefits pursuant
to  said  sections   shall  begin  providing  such
benefits   at   the    recalculated   rate.   Such
recalculated weekly benefits shall commence at the
beginning of a full week.
    Sec.  5.  Section   31-349e   of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed   and   the   following  is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    There  shall be  an  advisory  board  for  the
Second Injury Fund  to advise the custodian of the
Second   Injury   Fund   on   matters   concerning
administration,  operation,  claim   handling  and
finances of the  fund.  On or before July 1, 1995,
the  Treasurer shall  appoint  six  of  the  eight
members  to  the   board.   Three   members  shall
represent   employers   and   insurers   who   pay
assessments  to  the   fund  pursuant  to  section
31-354.  Three  such   members   shall   represent
employees receiving benefits paid or reimbursed by
the fund. The  two  remaining members shall be the
chairmen  of  the   labor   and  public  employees
committee  of  the   General   Assembly  or  their
designees.  The  six   members  appointed  by  the
Treasurer shall be  appointed  for  a term of four
years from January  first  in  the  year  of their
appointment. Any vacancy  shall  be filled for the
remainder of the  term  in  the same manner as the
original  appointment.  All  members  shall  serve
without  compensation. The  board  shall  elect  a
chairman from among  its  members.  The  Treasurer
shall provide such  staff  as is necessary for the
performance of the  functions  and  duties  of the
board. The board shall meet at least twice a year.
All  actions  of   the   board  shall  require  an
affirmative  vote  of   six   members,   OR  THEIR
DESIGNEES, of the  board.  The board may adopt any
rules of procedure  that  it  deems  necessary  to
carry out its duties.
    Sec. 6. This  act  shall  take  effect July 1,
1998, except that  section  1  shall  take  effect
October 1, 1998.

Approved May 22, 1998