Today is the last article in our series of wage-related blog posts. Catch up with our posts on wage calculation, case reserve, and loss-of-earning power. And, sign up for an upcoming Claims 201 class if you want to know more about these topics.
There’s a lot of talk about pensions when it comes to workers’ comp, but less understanding of how they really work. Pensions can offer security and peace of mind when a catastrophic injury takes place. But you may be surprised to hear, most other claims don’t need to result in pension, because you can offer light-duty work instead.
Certain life-changing injuries (loss of a single arm or leg, loss of both arms or legs, loss of eyesight or total paralysis) result in an automatic pension for the injured employee. The costs related to the pension will be charged to your company for three years, resulting in significantly higher premium rates.
In these cases, the financial costs are secondary to the impact on the injured employee, their family and your company. This is why we stress workplace safety, to reduce the chance that you and your employees will ever have a catastrophic accident. To coordinate a complimentary safety visit, use our Safety Visit Form or call 360.515.9479.
A non-statutory or administrative pension can be awarded when the accepted injuries are less severe, but still shown by objective medical findings to permanently preclude the injured employee from performing any gainful employment.
Changes to the Preferred Worker Program mean that there aren’t many cases where a non-statutory pension should be needed. It’s always better for your company and your injured employee to offer a permanent light duty job that accommodates their physical restrictions. At Approach, our Retro Coordinators are skilled at identifying and creating light duty positions that can be tailored to meet almost any requirement.
Wait a second! The Second Injury Fund
Sometimes a worker is found to have total permanent disability as a result of the combined effects of a pre-existing disabling condition(s) and the current claim. The claim itself did not cause the total disability, so it may qualify for second injury fund, which reduces the financial impact.
Eligibility is only if a non-statutory or administrative pension is awarded. If yes, your Approach Retro Coordinator will review the claim and coordinate action with the assigned L&I Claim Manager. Second injury fund is a great tool for cost mitigation because you as the employer are only charged the amount of the permanent partial disability award. All other costs are charged against the second injury fund.