July 18, 2005

Workers currently receiving Washington workers’ compensation time-loss or pension benefits will receive a 0.6 percent cost-of-living increase effective immediately. State law requires that maximum time-loss benefits and pensions be recalculated each July 1 to reflect the change in the state’s average wage from the previous calendar year. Under Washington’s system, injured workers receive from 60 to 75 percent of their income, tax free, while they are off the job and recovering. The percentage of income is based on the number of dependents. In 2004, the average monthly time-loss paid to injured workers was just under $1,700. The annual recalculation of time-loss and pension benefits is based on the average annual wage of all workers in Washington. That wage–set by the Employment Security Department–rose to $39,038 in 2004, an increase of 0.6 percent from $38,794 in 2003. As a result, the new maximum benefit will be $3,904, or 120 percent of the state’s average monthly wage, for workers injured after June 30, 1996. Without the restriction, there would be no limit on the amount high-income workers injured on the job could collect in benefits. Maximum benefits differ depending on when an injury occurred because over the past decade, the state Legislature has increased the percentage of the state’s average wage used to set the maximum benefit level. The July 1 increase applies to both State Fund and self-insured employers.

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West July 18, 2005
July 18, 2005
Insurance Journal West Magazine

2005 Excess, Surplus and Specialty Markets Directory, Vol. I

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