Impairment Ratings and Disability Certification

Permanent partial disability awards

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You may be rated for a permanent partial disability before L&I closes the claim.
When you have completed treatment but have suffered a permanent disability, you may qualify for a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) award. PPD must be rated by a qualified doctor.

Questions workers have

What's a permanent partial disability?

This means you can still work, but your physical ability has been impaired.

Will I lose my eligibility for a disability award if I go back to work?

No. Permanent partial disabilities are based on the degree of your impairment, not on whether you can work.

Do medical benefits and any time-loss compensation continue after I receive a disability award?

No. After the claim is closed, these benefits end (unless the claim is reopened).

Can I get independent advice on disability awards?

Yes - you can call Project HELP at 1-800-255-9752. They are a cooperative effort between L&I and the Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), and can provide you with individual claims assistance on your behalf.

Project HELP staff can assist you with both self-insured and state fund claims, but they are not attorneys and do not give legal advice.

What if I live or move out of state?
  • You may have to return to Washington for an independent medical examination. If needed, L&I or your self-insured employer will pay for your transportation, lodging, meals, and wage replacement for lost wages to attend the exam.

  • Pensions for permanent total disability

    If you are certified as permanently and totally disabled before L&I closes the claim, you may receive a monthly pension if:

    1. The medical and vocational evidence finds that your injury prevents you from becoming gainfully employed. Contact us about pension benefits for more information on this type of pension.
       
      OR
    2. You have lost, or lost the use of, both legs, both arms, an arm and a leg, or your vision.

    Survivor pensions and burial benefits for workplace fatalities

    Spouses or dependents of a worker who has died from a workplace injury or occupational disease, may be eligible for a:

    • One-time "immediate payment" to the worker's spouse or registered domestic partner.
    • Burial reimbursement.
    • Monthly survivor pension.

    For more information, see the "Survivor Benefits" section of our Pension and Survivor Benefits brochure or contact us.

    Benefits for full-time students

    Children of pensioners or survivors may be eligible to receive a monthly pension payment if they:

    • Are over the age of 18 and under the age of 23.
    • Are enrolled in an accredited school and attending as a full-time student.
    • Provide notice of intent to enroll as a full-time student between the spring and fall quarters/semesters.
    • Provide proof of full-time enrollment after the start of every quarter/semester by completing and submitting a Verification of School Enrollment form.

    Eligibility ends when the child is no longer attending an accredited school full time, joins the military or becomes incarcerated.

    Questions workers have

    If your question is not listed here, please contact us.

    Where can I find the forms I need?

    You can find disability and pension benefit forms on our Forms and Publications page.

    When will I get my pension payments?

    Monthly pension payments are mailed or deposited around the 15th of the month. Please allow 3-5 business days to receive it. Supplement payments are issued as paper checks and are mailed the following business day. If you don't get your payment, please contact us.

    Pension Benefits always needs a current mailing address and phone number even if you have direct deposit. If we cannot reach you due to a wrong address, monthly pension checks may be suspended. Learn how to update your address.

    What payment options are available?

    You may choose to receive your payments by check or direct deposit into banks or credit unions within the U.S. and U.S. territories.

    Can I authorize someone else to get information about my pension?

    In most cases, you can allow someone to talk to us about your pension by submitting your authorization in writing. Please contact us to learn what is required in your case.

    Will L&I cover treatment for my workplace injury after my pension starts?

    It is important to note that pre-authorization is required for treatment on pension claims (RCW 51.36.010(4)). If you do not already have pre-authorization for treatment, your provider must request that a treatment order be added to your claim. They must submit a written request and get approval from L&I or your self-insurer before providing treatment. Costs for treatment you received before getting approval will be denied.

    Will my pension benefits change?

    Your benefits may change:

    • If you qualify for a cost of living adjustment.
    • When you start or stop receiving Social Security benefits, or the amount of your Social Security benefits changes.
    • You return to work or divorce.

    To learn more, see the Pension and Survivor Benefits brochure.

    Do federal Social Security benefits affect my L&I pension?

    Federal Social Security benefits (disability or retirement) may affect the amount of pension benefits you receive from L&I. If you start or stop getting federal Social Security benefits while you are receiving a disability pension from L&I, notify us immediately.

    To learn more, see the Social Security Administration website or the Pension and Survivor Benefits brochure.

    Do I have to pay federal income tax on my pension?

    We do not withhold taxes from your pension, so we do not send out 1099s or W-2s. Please consult your tax advisor to learn about reporting requirements. To learn about the general rules for filing federal income tax, see IRS Publication 17.

    How do I get proof of income?

    Please contact us to request an income verification letter.

     
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