Washington state: WC benefits increase by more than 3 percent, officials say
Individuals receiving Washington's workers' comp wage-replacement or pension benefits received a 3.43 percent cost-of-living increase beginning July 1. State law requires that benefits be recalculated each year to reflect the change in the state's average wage from the previous calendar year.
Under Washington's workers' comp system, injured workers receive between 60 to 75 percent of their income -- up to the legally set maximum -- while they are off the job and recovering. The percentage of income is based on their marital status and number of dependents. For workers injured in 2008, the average monthly time loss paid was about $1,890.
The recalculation of benefits is based on the average annual wage of all workers in Washington. That wage, calculated by the Employment Security Department, rose to $46,256 in 2008 -- an increase of 3.43 percent from 2007. As a result, the new maximum monthly benefit will be $4,625 -- or 120 percent of the state's average monthly wage -- for workers injured after June 30, 1996. Less than 4 percent of claimants receiving wage-replacement benefits collect the maximum, officials said.
The amount the state Department of Labor and Industries pays for a permanent partial disability also increased. The jump of 4.09 percent for injuries that occur after July 1 was based on the change in the Consumer Price Index. PPD awards go to workers who have lost a body part or suffered a permanent, disabling injury.
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July 23, 2009
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