LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: The proposed rules provide clarity concerning Option 2 benefits for injured workers entitled to vocational training under Washington's workers' compensation system.
WAC 296-19A-600 How does an eligible injured worker elect vocational Option 2 benefits?
• Explains when the worker must choose Option 2 benefits if electing Option 2 benefits.
• Explains that the worker's claim will be closed when electing Option 2 benefits and the worker will receive the Option 2 award and access to Option 2 training funds.
WAC 296-19A-610 What is a vocational Option 2 award?
• Explains how the Option 2 award is calculated.
• Explains the method of payment of the Option 2 award to the worker.
• Clarifies adjustments and deductions that can and cannot be made.
WAC 296-19A-620 What are the vocational Option 2 training funds?
• Explains when training funds are available to the worker and for what period.
• Clarifies what training programs Option 2 funds can be used.
• Explains basis for annual adjustment for available training funds.
• Explains that workers are notified by department order of training funds available.
WAC 296-19A-630 Can a worker change their option election?
• Explains time frame for changing election options.
WAC 296-19A-640 What costs cannot be paid from the vocational Option 2 training funds?
• Specifies what costs training funds cannot be used for.
WAC 296-19A-650 Is the vocational Option 2 award paid if the worker is confined in an institution and under sentence?
• Explains that the worker will not receive the Option 2 award while incarcerated under sentence and when the department or self-insured employer will resume payment.
WAC 296-19A-660 Can a worker use the Option 2 training funds if confined in an institution and under sentence?
• Explains that Option 2 training funds are available while a worker is incarcerated under sentence upon application to the department of self-insurer.
WAC 296-19A-670 If a worker dies while receiving the vocational Option 2 award, will the award be paid to the worker's beneficiaries?
• Explains that the award is not payable to the worker's beneficiaries or estate.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 51.04.020, 51.04.030, 51.32.095, 51.32.099 and 51.32.0991 (chapter 72, Laws of 2007, ESSB 5920).
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 09-18-100 on September 1, 2009.
Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: WAC 296-19A-610 added: Whenever the biweekly payments are made over a period that includes July 1, the amount of the payment(s) will include any cost-of-living adjustment.
WAC 296-19A-620 What are the vocational Option 2 training
funds? Removed the following language as unnecessary:
can also view the current balance of funds through the
department's on-line claim and account center.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 8, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 8, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: March 12, 2010.
OPTION 2 BENEFITS
WAC 296-19A-600 How does an eligible injured worker elect vocational Option 2 benefits? Within fifteen days of the approval of a retraining plan by the department, the worker submits to the department or self-insurer the Retraining Plan Option Form indicating they select Option 2 and choose not to participate in their retraining plan. This election means the worker's claim will be closed, and the worker will receive the vocational Option 2 award and access to the Option 2 training funds.
Training fund amounts are based on tuition rates in effect on the date the worker's plan is approved. Eligible workers are notified of the amount available to them by department order issued at the time of their Option 2 election.