Workers' comp benefits to increase 5 percent July 1

June 28, 2018


Workers' compensation disability payments will increase five percent for most workers effective July 1st, based on calculations released this week by the Employment Security Department.

By law, workers' comp benefits are recalculated each year to reflect year-over-year increases in the state's average wage. These cost of living adjustments apply to time-loss and pension benefit payments.

According to ESD, the state's average annual wage increased five percent in 2017 to $61,887, the largest percentage increase year-over-year since 2007.

Because state law sets the maximum monthly benefit at 120 percent of the state's average monthly wage, the new maximum will be $6,188.70 per month, up from $5,895.70 last year.

The Department of Labor & Industries typically issues a news release contains links to the various charts and formulas necessary to implement the cost of living adjustments:

Benefits Schedule 

For the Period July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019  

The Washington statewide average wage for Calendar Year 2017 has been computed by the Department of Employment Security at $61,887.00.  This represents an increase factor of 1.04969 over 2016 when the wage was $58,957.00.  

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)   

Cost of living adjustment factors are now presented in two different ways.  The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Chart, 5-decimal increment and cumulative factors chart shows both the increment and cumulative factors in the five-digit format we have historically provided.  This chart has been updated to reflect the current COLA.

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Chart, 10-decimal increments only chart provides the incremental factors in 10-decimal format, for those who choose to use that option.

Per RCW 51.32.075 there will be no cost of living adjustment to time-loss rates for dates of injury on or after July 1, 2011 until the 2nd July after the date of injury.  However, time loss rates set at either minimum or maximum will increase to the new minimum or maximum rate.

Information on how to apply the COLA increase is in the Time-Loss Compensation chapter of the Claims Adjudication Guidelines.

Minimum and Maximum Time Loss Rates

Minimum and maximum time-loss rates will increase effective July 1, 2018. 

The maximum monthly time-loss rate for dates of injury on or after July 1, 2018 is $6,188.70.  

You may also access the Maximum Time-Loss Rates chart; it covers claims with dates of injury on or after July 1, 1988 through present.  

Effective July 1, 2018, 15% of the states average monthly wage is $773.59.  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.  

Further details are available in the Minimum Time Loss Rates chart.  

Additional information regarding maximum and minimum time-loss rates is available in the Time-Loss Compensation chapter of the Claims Adjudication Guidelines.  

Loss of Earning Power   

For loss of earning power (LEP) calculations for the period from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, 1.5 times the state’s average monthly wage is $7,735.87 ($257.86 daily).  

An updated copy of the Loss of Earning Power (LEP) calculation worksheet

is now available.  

More Information on L&I Website  

Self-Insurance has a web page titled “Benefit Calculations”.  Cost of living adjustment charts, minimum and maximum time loss charts, and the LEP worksheet can all be accessed from this web page.