If your job injury is severe and you are over the age of 50, you should consider pursuing a pension with L&I. A pension consists of monthly payments for the rest of your life. Your pension will pay at a rate of 60-75% of the wage you were receiving just prior to your injury. The percentage rate is calculated based on the total number of your dependents. The purpose of a pension is to replace your monthly working income. Once L&I approves your pension, your payments will begin shortly thereafter and continue for the rest of your life.
This is not an employer “pension” or retirement plan – these payments are solely paid as a result of your on-the-job injury.
Few people know about L&I pensions offered by L&I. They can be very hard to get because of the great expense to L&I, or your employer (if your employer is self-insured). As a result, L&I and your self-insured employer will often fight very had to prevent you from getting a pension.
To qualify for a pension, you are required to show that you suffer from a permanent, disabling injury that prevents you from working.
It’s not enough, however, to just recite the words “permanently disabling injury.” Winning a pension is a time-consuming process fraught with pitfalls. The pension process is riddled with red tape, bureaucracy, and many roadblocks designed to make you give up or agree to less compensation than you deserve.
This is the bare minimum you need to win a pension:
- A talented attorney. Only 2% of cases receive a pension, so having a sophisticated, experienced L&I attorney that will fight for you all the way through the process is a key component.
- The right doctor. You need a medical professional on your side that has your back and believes in your case. If you do no have a helpful doctor, or are still seeing the doctor assigned to you by L&I or your employer, then see #1 above. Any talented attorney should have a network of equally talented doctors.
- The right strategy. Again, see #1 above. The best L&I attorneys can walk you through pros and cons of each potential strategy for moving your case forward to a pension.
- Dedication and follow-through. Acquiring a pension doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. You’re going to need a great team, a little patience, and a lot of commitment to working through the process until it is complete and you start receiving your pension checks.