Tag Archives: Industrial Strength Law

CARES Act Stimulus Payments

Congress passed a law, HR 748, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act, on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act, among other things, grants an automatic tax rebate to most people. Section 2201 of HR 748 details payments to individuals.

What Are the Stimulus Payments?

The CARES Act refers to these payments as tax rebates. The Treasury Department calls them Economic Impact Payments, as does the IRS. I call them stimulus payments, as do many media sources.

They are essentially an automatic tax rebate which is paid irrespective of whether a person actually paid taxes. There are three stated disqualified classes: nonresident aliens, dependents, and trusts/estates. This leaves a broad range of people that potentially will receive the payments in the near future.

Who Will Get a Payment? Who May Not?

Social Security recipients will automatically receive the stimulus payments. For others, the IRS advises people who receive disability benefits but do not ordinarily file taxes to file a special return.

However, for those individuals whose only source of income in both 2018 and 2019 were time loss or workers’ compensation pension benefits – which are non-taxable benefits – the CARES Act does not clearly state whether those individuals are eligible to receive the tax rebate payment.

Should I File a Tax Return?

We believe there is no downside or risk for individuals who receive only workers’ compensation benefits to file a special tax return. If you have questions about how to characterize or claim your benefits on a special tax return, we suggest you contact a tax professional.

How Much Can I Expect to Receive?

The amount is subject to adjustment upward or downward depending on filing status, income, and number of dependents. For most people, the calculation of, and eligibility for, these payments will be based on their 2019 or 2018 tax returns. 

Where Can I Get More Information?

The IRS has provided some guidance on it’s coronavirus website, with the clear instruction to not call the IRS but to check back frequently for updates. I will be paying attention to IRS rulemaking in the next several weeks. You should also periodically check in on the IRS website for further information.

I have reached out to house members and senators for Washington State for clarification. I am closely monitoring the rule making process. We will do our best to keep you informed on any changes. 

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DLI News: Telehealth Update

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has issued a Telehealth Update. The changes are introduced, on a temporary basis, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

TeleSIMP and Telerehab Payment Policies Now Available 

Effective March 25, 2020, Labor and Industries (L&I) is temporarily allowing Structured Intensive Multidisciplinary Program (SIMP) services to be delivered as part of telehealth. This Telehealth Update is part of L&I’s Chronic Pain Management payment policy. This temporary TeleSIMP policy allows SIMP services to continue, while helping to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by reducing in-person appointments. SIMP providers may use telehealth to deliver certain services for workers enrolled in their program. This policy isn’t intended to replace Chapter 34: Chronic Pain Management.

Effective March 20, 2020, L&I is also temporarily allowing the delivery of rehabilitation services using telehealth, called telerehab. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists may use telehealth to delivery services for established patients in outpatient settings.

L&I’s current payment policy and fee schedule already covers phone calls between providers and workers, see Chapter 10: Evaluation and Management Services for more details.

Both of these temporary policies will allow the use of the worker’s home as an origination site when they are receiving services. See L&I’s Temporary Telehealth Payment Policy for additional details. 

Updates and corrections are periodically posted on L&I’s Medical Aid Rules and Fee Schedules website. Both of these policies are available here.

Please note: a temporary telehealth policy is under consideration for brain injury rehabilitation services. If adopted, a future Telehealth Update will be issued.

Questions on the payment policies? Contact L&I at HPPM@lni.wa.gov

Prior Post About Telehealth Services


CW Is Working from Home

Almost all of Causey Wright is working from home in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. While CW is working from home, you can reach us through the usual means: phone, fax, email, web chat, postal mail and delivery services like FedEx or UPS.

Tips for you while we work through this together

Causey Wright remains available to our current clients as well as potential new clients who need help with an injury- or disability-related matter. The following list of tips will keep us connected while CW is working from home:

  • All paralegals and attorneys are working their regular schedules, mostly from their homes. 
  • Our employees working from home have remote access to our database. All of our internal  processes will continue to function normally.
  • Our phone system allows our employees to make and receive calls whether we are at the office or at home. Please continue to use our regular office phone and fax numbers.
  • If you reach voice mail, please know that those messages are received as both a voice mail and an email, so they will not be missed. Leave a detailed message so that, when we return your call, we can give you a detailed answer. Try to avoid “please call me” messages – let us know what you need – that’s why we’re here!
  • We are also all available by email. You can use our direct email addresses or, if you need more assistance, reachus @ CauseyWright .com is monitored by the management team.
  • All bookkeeping will continue as normal – checks will be processed daily, both those received electronically from the Department of Labor and Industries as well as paper checks received in the mail. For those clients who have direct deposit set up with us, the payment will be processed electronically, as normal.
  • For those clients who do not have direct deposit set up with us, paper checks will be mailed the same day we receive payment.  Please consider setting up direct deposit – it’s faster, for us and for you, avoiding delays.

We will continue to post updates concerning WA workers’ compensation and longshore claims on this blog. All articles are linked through our social media channels, as well.

For all things related to Causey Wright you can go to our website. You can find us on FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – see the links on the navigation bar. You can also subscribe to receive email updates from our blog when new posts go up, below, if you wish.  We are here as a resource for you, your friends and family.

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Kristen Wolf’s WFH Story

Almost all of the Causey Wright team is working from home in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We will periodically share stories and pictures from our staff about their work-from-home experience. Today, we hear Paralegal Kristen Wolf‘s work from home story.

Kit Case, Editor

You can read more about Kristen on our website at CauseyWright.com.

Pictured is my primary workspace, with my slacker of a colleague, Cody. I intermittently move over to my kitchen counter, which I use as a standing work station.

I miss the whole CW team, the beautiful new office space, and having in-person meetings with clients and potential clients. Other than that, some technology glitches, and my colleague’s occasional need to bark at anything that moves, I’m hanging in there!

I find it helps to keep as normal a daily routine as possible. I get up and go for a walk or do my at-home workout, shower and have breakfast, log in and start work at 8:30, lunch break from noon – 1:00 (which typically includes a walk), work through the afternoon with a couple mini-breaks, and log off at 5:00. I take another walk, do some yard work, or just sit outside to make the transition from the work day to personal time.

Read one of Kristen Wolf’s prior blog posts: