AWW stands for average weekly wage and is one of the ways that insurance companies pay you less money than you are entitled to in your Illinois workers’ compensation claim. Your AWW is used to calculate your rate of pay for your time off work (TTD benefits) and your settlement (PPD benefits).
In a nutshell, they are supposed to take your earnings for the last 52 weeks at your job (and sometimes additional jobs) and divide it by the weeks you actually worked. So if you started working at your employer 40 weeks before you got hurt and were making $1,000 a week, your AWW should be $1,000.00. But some insurance companies will divide incorrectly by 52 weeks which in this case would lower the AWW to $769.23. TTD benefits are 2/3 of your wage so instead of getting $667.00 a week you’d suddenly get $512.82 a week for the time you can’t work. That’s a loss of $155.00 tax free a week which belongs to you and that can add up over time.
You see this little trick played out mostly with teachers. Most of the great teachers who I have talked to over the last 20 years get paid for the actual school year. So they are usually compensated from late August to early June. On average they work 42 weeks. The average teacher makes $66,614.00 a year in Illinois. If they work 42 weeks, that’s an AWW of $1,586.05 and a TTD rate of $1,057.37.
If the insurance company lies to you and says they need to divide by the whole year, suddenly a teacher will be getting a low TTD rate of $854.03 a week, more than $200.00 less than they are entitled to. If you are off for an entire calendar year due to a major injury that would be a difference of more than $10,000.00!
These “mis-calculations” can of course also cause your settlement to be lowered by tens of thousands of dollars too.
If you are teacher in Illinois and injured while working, you need to work with an attorney who has represented many teachers in the past. The lawyers in our state wide network have and have had great success for our under appreciated educators. When I was in law school I substitute taught at a private school for two days and never slept so well in my life. It was beyond exhausting. So my hats off to any teacher.
Insurance companies and school districts should have the same respect or really more for teachers and not play games with their wages, but sadly it happens. The good news is that in almost every case it’s a problem we can quickly solve and get you your back pay.