(a) In order to adjust average weekly wage under this rule, for purposes of computing impairment income, supplemental income, lifetime income, and death benefits, an injured employee must come within one of the following definitions, on the date of injury:
(1) a minor is an employee less than 18 years of age and not emancipated by marriage or judicial action, and is also an apprentice, trainee, or student;
(2) an apprentice is an employee learning a skilled trade or art by practical experience under the direction of a skilled crafts person or artisan;
(3) a trainee is an employee undergoing systematic instruction and practice in some art, trade, or profession with a view towards proficiency in it; and
(4) a student is an employee enrolled in a course of study or instruction in a high school, college, university, or other institute of higher education or technical training.
(b) The average weekly wage used to determine temporary income benefits for a minor, apprentice, trainee, or student shall be computed according to § 128.3 of this title (relating to Average Weekly Wage Calculation for Full-Time Employees and for Temporary Income Benefits for All Employees), and may not be adjusted. The basic average weekly wage for other income and death benefits shall be calculated depending upon whether the employee worked full-time, part-time, or as a seasonal employee, and may be adjusted as described in this section.
(c) The average weekly wage of an employee who is less than 18 years of a age, but not a minor as defined in this section, shall not be adjusted.
(d) The average weekly wage used to determine impairment income benefits, supplemental income benefits, lifetime income benefits, or death benefits for an employee defined under subsection (a) of this section shall be adjusted on the basis of this rule if the employee also proves that:
(1) the employee’s employment or earnings at the time of the injury were limited primarily because of apprenticeship, continuing formal training, or education that can be reasonably calculated to enhance the employee’s future wages; and
(2) the employee’s wages would reasonably be expected to change during the period for which the impairment income, supplemental income, lifetime income, and death benefits are payable not to exceed three years after the date of injury.
(e) An insurance carrier and the person claiming income benefits may agree to adjust the average weekly wage used to compute impairment income benefits, lifetime income benefits, supplemental income benefits, or death benefits for an employee who meets the requirements of subsections (a) and (d) of this section. The adjustment shall not reflect the level of the expected wages for a period in excess of three years after the date of injury.
(f) If an insurance carrier and the person claiming income benefits dispute the need for, or the amount of, an adjustment for expected wage levels, the commission shall schedule a benefit review conference. The commission shall then consider the evidence submitted by the insurance carrier and the claimant. Objective, documentary, or expert evidence is favored over testimony of interested parties, in determining an expected wage level which is fair and just.
The provisions of this § 128.6 adopted to be effective January 11, 1991, 16 TexReg 118.