If you have an L&I claim in Washington State, then you are probably familiar with time-loss compensation benefits. Most often, time-loss is paid at a base rate of 60%. What does this mean? Take your wages at the time of your work injury or industrial disease. L&I or the self-insured employer pay 60% of those wages while you are recovering from your work injury. However, certain circumstances can affect the exact time-loss payout amount.
Time-loss compensation for family and dependents
There may be percentage increases to the base rate depending on your marital status or dependents. For example, if a work injury claimant is married, then there’s a base rate increase of 5%. Similarly, the rate will increase by 2% for each dependent (up to a maximum of 5 dependents). Therefore, most work injury claimants get from 60% to 75% of their wages for time-loss compensation. Usually, this calculation is simple and straightforward.
Time-loss calculation: More complex situations
However, in some cases, the computation is more complicated. Sometimes, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) applies a maximum or minimum time-loss rate. More explicitly, L&I applies the maximum rate when the work injury victim makes significantly more than Washington State’s average monthly wage. The maximum rate is based on a percentage over average wage from the prior year.
Maximum L&I claim time-loss compensation rate
This average monthly wage in Washington State is available from the Employment Security Department (ESD). In fact, L&I uses a different percentage every year to determine the maximum time-loss rate. The numbers range from 85% for a very old L&I claim or workers’ compensation claim, to 120% for newer claims. Furthermore, the easiest way to determine the maximum time-loss rate is to look at L&I’s maximum rate table for the year of the work injury.
Minimum L&I claim time-loss compensation rate
In some cases, L&I can apply a minimum time-loss rate. This happens (most commonly) for people who were paid “under the table” for work, so to speak. It also applies for people that suffer an injury at work with limited work history. injured shortly after starting work.
Under RCW 51.32.060, time-loss compensation rates cannot fall under 15% of Washington State’s average monthly wage rate. Therefore, the minimum rate also depends on Washington State’s average monthly rate going back to the year of the work injury. Here, L&I maintains a chart for minimum time-loss rates. In conclusion, work injury claimants whose compensation rate is low must always receive at least 15% of the current Washington State average monthly wage.