On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit finished its work interpreting the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The court’s decision avoids disparate treatment between claimants who become disabled the same year but receive compensation in different years.

Bernard Boroski became permanently and totally disabled in 2002 but didn’t receive any benefits until 2008. When he sought benefits, he asked for the 2008 rates instead of the lower rates from 2002.

Under the act, covered employees receive disability benefits that are calculated based on the national average weekly wage.

Boroski raised two issues on appeal. First, he argued that "newly awarded compensation" doesn’t apply until a compensation award is actually entered. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected that interpretation, applying the phrase only when a person is newly entitled to compensation.

But the Supreme Court didn’t address the second issue Boroski raised. He also argued that "currently receiving compensation" under the act isn’t triggered until a person actually receives compensation.

On remand, the Eleventh Circuit held that newly awarded compensation under the act simply means newly entitled to compensation.

The court’s decision means Boroski’s benefits will be based on the wages he earned the year he became disabled — not on the national average weekly wage of a later year. Boroski will also receive interest for the delay.