Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

Annual Rate Adjustment: WA Workers’ Compensation

Time Loss rates go up, but permanent impairment awards go down…

Workers’ compensation benefits to increase, decrease effective July 1.

Workers currently receiving Washington workers’ compensation wage-replacement or pension benefits will receive a 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase effective Thursday, 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. 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 $47,153 in 2009, an increase of 1.9 percent from 2008.

The amount the Department of Labor and Industries or self-insured employers pay for permanent partial disability (PPD) awards for new injuries that occur on or after July 1 is decreasing by .67 percent. This decrease is 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.