How to Get Benefits for Life

You experienced an injury on the job—or developed an illness over time at work—that’s so severe you will never work again.

It’s not your fault. You worked hard in an environment with hazards. You shouldn’t be left unable to support yourself for the rest of your life because of it.

You could get “pension” benefits from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)—providing monthly payments for the rest of your life.

This lets you live in financial security and dignity. It’s an extremely valuable benefit.

But applying for and winning this type of workers’ compensation isn’t easy. And L&I pension benefits come in different forms you’ll need to understand.

Get help navigating your options from Bothwell & Hamill. We help injured workers win full benefits in Yakima, Kennewick, Sunnyside, Spokane, Richland, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Walla Walla and anywhere in Central Washington.

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What Is an L&I Workers’ Compensation Pension?

This kind of pension is different from a retirement plan you might have had in your job. It’s a form of benefit under workers’ comp insurance that only applies when you’ve been seriously hurt at work.

But like a classic retirement pension, it pays you for the rest of your life.

That’s an extremely generous—and rare—benefit. Most states don’t have it, according to a report from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

If you can’t work again, you absolutely should apply for this high level of financial assistance.

But as you can imagine, workers’ compensation pension benefits are expensive for the state or your employer to provide—so they’re going to make you work hard to get them.

You’ll need:

  • Medical proof of a “permanent total disability”
  • Vocational evidence that you can’t be gainfully employed
  • A strong claim strategy
  • Persistence

You could also qualify if your particular injury involves losing the use of two major limbs, or your vision.

It’s hard to succeed without an experienced lawyer.

At Bothwell & Hamill, we don’t charge anything for you to talk to us about your case and evaluate your chances of winning benefits.

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What Are My L&I Workers’ Comp Pension Options?

You can get workers’ comp pension benefits in different forms:

  • Permanent total disability payments for yourself: This covers you when you’ll never be able to work again.
  • Survivor benefits: This provides lifetime financial assistance for spouses or dependents of someone who died because of a workplace injury or illness.
  • Student benefits: This helps dependent children of people with permanent workplace injuries as long as they’re full-time students between the ages of 18-23.

A worker receiving a pension can also designate beneficiaries who will keep receiving benefits after the worker dies, even if they die from causes unrelated to their job injury.

So you can either receive your full pension amount now, or take a reduced amount so your family will continue getting payments after you die.

The size of your pension payments also could be reduced if you’re receiving Social Security Disability benefits, although you should always receive a total amount, from both programs, that equals your full L&I pension amount.

You don’t have to sort this out on your own. Bothwell & Hamill can help.

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