Calculating money benefits for injured workers in New Mexico

Money benefits after you’ve been injured at work or on the job are crucial for you and your family. But how are they calculated?

In New Mexico, it’s usually straight forward. First, you have to calculate your average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is calculated by averaging the 26 weeks of gross wages (before taxes) before the work accident or work injury. So, you need to gather your wage records for the 26 weeks before the work accident or work injury, add them together and divide the total by 26 weeks. It can be that simple.

Sometimes the wage history is not that simple. If you’ve missed work during the 26 weeks or had weeks of below average pay or above average pay, adjustments may need to be done to calculate a fair average weekly wage. If you earned tips, then it can become complicated.

Once you have calculated the average weekly wage, then you multiply that number by 2/3 or .667. That is your compensation rate and represents the maximum money benefit you would be entitled to after your work injury. The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act has a maximum compensation rate that varies from year to year. For 2018 the maximum money benefit is $796.96 per week. The table with these rates can be seen at https://workerscomp.nm.gov/sites/default/files/documents/publications/aww_table.pdf.

Calculating the average weekly wage and the compensation rate can be relatively simple, there are times when it can become complicated. At those times, it is best to consult with an lawyer to do those calculations and address any other issues in your workers’ compensation case. If the average weekly wage is too low, your workers’ compensation benefits will be too low and you will be losing money when you can least afford it after a work injury.

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