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DWC Closes Over 292,000 Liens per New Declaration Requirements

August 16, 2017 by Catherine Montgomery

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) just dismissed your lien if you did not comply with new Supplemental Lien Declaration requirements prescribed by last year’s Senate Bill 1160.

On August 14, the DWC dismissed over 292,000 unresolved liens for claimants’ failure to file the Supplemental Lien form and 4903.05(c) Declaration form (Supplemental Lien Declaration) as required by SB 1160.

Effective January 1st, 2017, SB 1160 requires claimants to submit the new Supplemental Lien Declaration for liens filed between January 1st of 2013 and December 31st of 2016.

This action by the DWC preempts any examination and potential decision for payment by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). While a given claimant may or may not have had a valid case on substance, these liens are being dismissed automatically on a procedural basis, “by operation of law.”

The combined value of the claims amounts to over $2.7 billion, not including the loss of filing fees claimants paid to submit the liens.

SB 1160, which evolved from a union-backed attempt to streamline the Utilization Review (UR) process and speed care to injured workers, ultimately put a stronger focus on fraud prevention and lien reform. The bill amended California Labor Code §4903.05 to require a more precise declaration of the rationale behind a lien.

But while the bill and amended labor code became effective on January 1st of this year, they applied retroactively to lien filings from 2013 onward. This left over 880,000 pending lien claims suddenly out of compliance. The DWC gave claimants until July 1st of this year to file the supplemental form.

The DWC does not intend to send notice to claimants regarding these dismissals. The DWC website maintains a page featuring an overview of SB 1160 and its effects, a link to a Frequently Asked Questions page, and sample pdf versions of the required lien forms.

We’re here to help with any questions regarding SB 1160 and Labor Code §4903.05. Start with our FAQ Article about the new DWC forms, or watch our lien declaration webinar below. As always, feel free to contact us with any further concerns.

On August 14, the DWC dismissed over 292,000 unresolved liens due to the lien claimant's’ failure to timely file the required Supplemental Lien Declaration as mandated by SB 1160 for all liens filed before 1/1/2013.

This lien dismissal by the DWC preempts any examination and potential decision for payment by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). While a given claimant may or may not have had a valid case on substance, the liens were dismissed automatically on a procedural basis, “by operation of law.”

The combined value of the discharged liens totaled over $2.7 billion, not including the loss of filing fees claimants initially paid to file their liens.

SB 1160, which evolved from a union-backed attempt to streamline the Utilization Review (UR) process and speed care to injured workers, but this bill ultimately developed into legislation with a stronger focus on fraud prevention and lien reform.

SB 1160 amended Labor Code § 4903.05 to require lien claimants to file a declaration affirming that their lien satisfies at least one of the seven lien categories listed in sections (A) through (G) of the amended Labor Code. This lien declaration became mandatory for all new liens filed as of January 1, 2017.

Existing lien claimants who filed a lien between January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2017 – that is to say, liens subject to the filing fee under Labor Code § 4903.05 – had to file a retroactive lien declaration before July 1, 2017. The DWC Newsline 2017-75 announced the dismissal of liens for the claimants who failed to file the forms as required by Labor Code § 4903.05.

The DWC does not intend to send notice to claimants regarding the dismissed liens. The DWC website maintains a page featuring an overview of SB 1160 and its effects, a link to a Frequently Asked Questions page, and sample pdf versions of the required lien forms.


We’re here to help with any questions regarding SB 1160 and Labor Code §4903.05. Start with our FAQ Article about the new DWC forms, or watch our lien declaration webinar below. As always, feel free to contact us with any further concerns.

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