On June 30, 2021, Washington Law Center learned that dozens of our injured worker clients were potentially affected by a…
The Washington State average annual salary in 2020 was $76,741 per year, as determined by the Washington Employment Security Department on June 15, 2021. Pursuant to statutory formulas, this means that the newest maximum time loss rate in workers’ compensation claims is now $7,674.10 per month, and the newest minimum time loss rate is $959.26.
The legal maximum benefit amount is equal to 120% of the average annual wage whereas the legal minimum benefit amount is equal to 15% of the average annual wage in Washington State.
What is the 2021 Cost-of-Living Increase in Washington State?
For 2021, Washington State’s statutory Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) formula provides a 10.1% increase in workers’ compensation benefits for those injured workers entitled to time loss, pension and loss of earning power (LEP) benefits in industrial injury and occupational disease claims which are greater than one year old. This 10.1% increase in benefit payments will be effective on July 1, 2021. This record high increase is atypical and was caused by the mass displacement of lower-paid workers from the labor market during the COVID pandemic.
What is the COLA Adjustment for Washington Labor & Industries Benefits in 2021?
10.1%. According to the Employment Security Department, the average annual wage in Washington State during 2020 increased 10.1% to $76,741 from $69,700 in the prior year.
This means that commencing July 1, 2021, long-term injured workers will also see their time loss, LEP or pension benefits increase by 10.1% due to mandatory statutory cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases provided under the Industrial Insurance Act (Title 51, RCW)
What is the Maximum L&I Time Loss Rate in Washington State for 2021?
The new maximum time loss rate for work injuries sustained during the period of July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 will be $7,674.00 per month.
This represents 120% of the average monthly wage in Washington during 2020. For dates of injury on or after July 1, 1971, an injured worker’s time-loss compensation rate is based on the worker’s gross wage, family status (married or single) and number of dependent children on the date of injury.
The formula for determining precise eligibility is found at RCW 51.32.060.
What is Minimum L&I Time Loss Rate in Washington State for 2021?
The 2021 minimum time loss rate is equal to 15% of the state’s average monthly wage plus $10 if the worker has a spouse and $10 for each dependent child up to five children, all pursuant to RCW 51.32.090(9)(b).
The average monthly wage in Washington state was $6,395.08 per month in 2020, so the minimum time loss rate is therefore $959.26 for the worker, plus spouse and dependent payments.
Rates for prior years can be found here.
Why won’t some injured workers get the COLA adjustment in 2021?
Pursuant to RCW 51.32.075, there is no time loss adjustment for dates of injury on or after July 1, 2011 until the second July after the date of injury. However, time loss rates set at either minimum or maximum values will still increase to the new minimum or maximum rate.
If you have any questions about workers compensation benefit eligibility or the Department of Labor & Industries’ Cost of Living Adjustment rate change and how they effect your time loss benefits, our experienced L&I attorneys are here to help.
We aim to help as many injured worked in the state of Washington as we possible can. If you think we can help, give us a call! Our phone number is: (206) 596-7888.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Spencer Parr is a litigation and trial attorney at Washington Law Center focused primarily in the areas of Labor & Industries claims and injury pension benefits. Before co-founding Washington Law Center, Spencer served in the U.S. Army. He has litigated major issues in the law, represented clients from coast to coast, and dedicated his professional life to assisting the injured and disabled. Click here to learn more about Spencer. View More Labor & Industries and Work Injury Resources.