lee ann loweEffective Friday July 1, 2016 the annual cost of living adjustments (COLA) will take effect for the benefit period of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. Washington’s statewide average wage increased from $54,829.00 in 2014 to $56,273.00 in 2015, an increase factor of 1.0263364278. As usual, there will be no COLA increase for dates of injury on or after July 1, 2011 until the second July after the date of injury, unless the time loss rate is set at the minimum or maximum rate, in which case the increase to the new minimum or maximum rate will apply. Effective July 1, 2016 the new maximum monthly time loss rate for dates of injury on or after July 1, 2016 is $5,627.29. For the new minimum monthly time loss rate, 15% of the state’s average monthly wage is $703.41. For loss of earning power (LEP) calculations, 1.5 times the new state’s average monthly wage is $7,034.11. Make sure all time loss and LEP payments are adjusted according to the new increases to avoid any potential penalties.

The Department charts on the 2016 COLA increase, minimum and maximum time loss increases, and LEP worksheet and calculator can be found on the Department’s “Benefit Calculations” page here.

If you have any additional questions about the COLA increases, please contact me at llowe@sbhlegal.com.