Last Thursday, Governor Newsom signed SB 1127. Among other things, this bill provided for additional temporary disability benefits for public safety employees such as firefighters and police officers in presumptive cancer claims. Now, up to 240 weeks of temporary disability benefits is allowed in connection with cancer conditions that are presumed compensable pursuant to labor code section 3212.1. The prior limitation was 104 weeks within a period of five years of the date of injury for date of injury on or after January 1, 2008.
SB 1127 accomplishes the extension of aggregate disability payments for a presumed cancer claim by amending Labor Code section 4656. Specifically, section (d) was added and applies to injuries on or after January 1, 2023:
“(d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a), (b), and (c), for an employee who suffers from an injury or condition defined in Section 3212.1, aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after January 1, 2023, causing temporary disability shall not extend for more than 240 compensable weeks.”
It should be noted there is no limitation on these payments relative to the date of injury. In other words, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2008, the 104-week limitation does not extend more than five years from the date of injury. Such a limitation is not found in new section (d), above.
This amendment not only brings the number of compensable weeks equal to those found in labor code section 4656 (c) (3) (i.e., acute and chronic hepatitis B and C, amputations, HIV, and so on) but goes one step further by not limiting those payments to within a five-year period of the date of injury.