Jackson v. Hochadel Roofing Co., 1D00-2316.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation794 So.2d 668
Docket NumberNo. 1D00-2316.,1D00-2316.
PartiesJames JACKSON, Appellant, v. HOCHADEL ROOFING CO. and Claims Center, Appellees.
Decision Date10 August 2001

794 So.2d 668

James JACKSON, Appellant,
HOCHADEL ROOFING CO. and Claims Center, Appellees

No. 1D00-2316.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

August 10, 2001.

Rehearing Denied September 14, 2001.

Appellant, pro se.

Larry Cangro, Esquire of Matusek, McKnight, Poluse & Cangro, P.A., St. Petersburg, for Appellees.

794 So.2d 669

James Jackson, a permanently, totally disabled worker, appeals the compensation order determining his indemnity benefits. He contends that the amount is too low because the social security offset is too high. Specifically, he argues that the judge of compensation claims erred in calculating the social security offset by including supplemental benefits as "compensation benefits." § 440.15(9)(a), Fla. Stat. (1991) (now codified as § 440.15(10)(a), Fla. Stat. (2000)). We reject this contention and affirm.

Mr. Jackson suffered a compensable accident on February 13, 1992 while working for Hochadel Roofing Company (Hochadel). At the time of the industrial accident, his average weekly wage was $304.03. Eventually, Hochadel and Claims Center accepted Mr. Jackson as totally and permanently disabled as of August 9, 1993, and began to pay weekly benefits accordingly: $202.69 for permanent total disability plus supplemental benefits in the amount of $10.13, for a total of $212.82 per week.

In October of 1995, Mr. Jackson began receiving social security disability benefits in the amount of $165.23 per week. The Social Security Administration calculated his average current earnings as $377.67 per week. By this time, his workers' compensation supplemental benefits had grown to $30.40 per week. See § 440.15(1)(e)1., Fla. Stat. (1991) (providing that "the injured employee shall receive additional weekly compensation benefits equal to 5 percent of his weekly compensation rate ... multiplied by the number of calendar years since the date of injury").

When his social security disability benefits started, Hochadel and its insurance carrier began taking a $96.18 weekly offset against Mr. Jackson's compensation benefits pursuant to section 440.15(9). Each year thereafter, Hochadel and its insurance carrier increased the social security offset by recalculating it in order to take annual increases in supplemental benefits into account.

After satisfying statutory prerequisites, Mr. Jackson filed a petition for benefits on June 16, 1999, initiating the proceedings that gave rise to this appeal. The petition challenged Hochadel's (and its insurance carrier's) original offset calculation as well as the annual recalculations. The latter are no longer at issue because the judge of compensation claims accepted the contention that increasing the offset every year was unlawful, and the appellees have not cross-appealed this ruling. On appeal, Mr. Jackson argues that the initial calculation should not have included supplemental benefits at all because the "purpose of supplemental benefits is to allow for increases in the cost of living." Dep't of Children and Families v. Monroe, 744 So.2d 1163, 1164 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999).

The present case does not involve an offset under section 440.20(15), Florida Statutes (1991) (now codified as § 440.20(14), Fla. Stat. (2000)), or Escambia County Sheriff's Department v. Grice, 692 So.2d 896 (Fla.1997). See also Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252, 255 (Fla.1989). As Grice makes clear, the social security offset under section 440.15(9)(a) is different and distinct from the...

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