DWC reinstates requirement to pay lien activation fees for Workers' Compensation claims

November 24, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Workers' Compensation 

The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) recently announced  that beginning November 9, 2015, the lien activation fees mandated under the Senate Bill 863 workers' compensation reforms will be reinstituted.

This announcement comes in the wake of the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals decision to uphold the constitutionality of the lien activation fees and subsequent dismissal of the preliminary injunction imposed as part of the Angelotti Chiropractic, Inc., et al. v. Baker, et al. case.

Under this order, any affected lien claimant who files a Declaration of Readiness or appears at a lien conference from November 9  to December 31, 2015, will be required to pay the activation fee if it has not previously been paid. Additionally, the order stipulates that the lien activation fees must be paid prior to midnight on December 31, 2015, or the affected lien will be dismissed (Labor Code § 4903.06(a)(5)).  

The fee for filing liens remains in effect and was not affected by the ruling.

DWC began collecting lien filing and activation fees in 2013 as authorized by SB 863, which made wide-ranging changes to the California workers' compensation system. The fees were intended to clear up a large backlog of hundreds of thousands of liens and to discourage the filing and pursuit of low-dollar-value liens by rendering them valueless. Under the law, holders of liens filed before the law took effect on January 1, 2013, were required to pay a $100 activation fee by January 1, 2014, or have their liens dismissed.

The preliminary injunction that went into effect November 19, 2013, prohibited DWC from collecting the $100 activation fee for the pre-2013 liens and from enforcing a provision in SB 863 that dismissed any liens for which the activation fee was not paid by December 31, 2013.

Providers seeking to pay the electronic lien activation fee or seeking additional information on the lien filing fees are directed to the Lien Filing Fees section of the DWC website.


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