Washington Housekeeping Matters – COLA and Vocational Mileage Reimbursement

Ewing, Sarah_160x222COLA

Effective July 1, 2015, cost of living adjustments (COLA) will take effect for the benefit period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Washington’s statewide average wage increased from $52,635 in 2013 to $54,829 in 2014. The maximum monthly time-loss rate for dates of injury on or after July 1, 2015 is $5,482.90.

Another adjustment on July 1, 2015 is minimum time-loss rates. 15% of the states average monthly wage is $685.37. For those eligible for that minimum time-loss rate, remember to add $10.00 for a spouse or registered domestic partner and $10.00 for each dependent child up to five dependents.

Make sure to adjust your time-loss payment accordingly. You can access the Time-Loss Rates charts here.

Mileage Reimbursement – Vocational

Effective August 1, 2015, workers participating in vocational retraining plans will be eligible for mileage reimbursement for all miles traveled associated with retraining. Currently, claimants are only eligible for reimbursement for travel beyond the first and last 15-miles of an authorized round trip. Under WAC 296-20-1103 workers actively participating in a vocational retraining plan can receive associated travel reimbursement without any mileage reduction. Note: This change does not impact pre-authorization for reimbursement when a worker is seeking treatment 15-miles beyond the worker’s home.

Tip: A worker who has requested travel reimbursement for an approved vocational retraining plan or for vocational services at the self-insurer’s request, is entitled to mileage reimbursement for the entire trip.

If you have any additional questions about COLA increases or mileage reimbursements, please contact me at sewing@sbhlegal.com