Catastrophic injuries such as, brain injuries, paralysis, loss of arms or legs, and severe or progressive lung or heart disease often require costly modifications to a victim’s home. These costs may be covered by L&I for workers suffering from approved catastrophic injuries. The modifications must be deemed necessary to meet the worker’s needs for safety, mobility, or activities of daily life.
A worker who has experienced a job-related catastrophic injury resulting in permanent physical impairment may be eligible. To qualify for a home modification, you must have an open worker’s compensation claim or be receiving a pension by decree of permanent and total disability.
If your claim has been closed and the closure is final, you must file a written application to reopen the claim. To open a claim, objective medical evidence must show the condition caused by the industrial injury or occupational disease has worsened since the claim was closed. Claims cannot be reopened solely for home modifications.
What Home Modifications Will L&I Pay For?
Examples of qualifying modifications include, widening doorways, installing ramps, and modifying the primary bathroom.
L&I can modify only one home (house, duplex, apartment, condominium, manufactured or mobile home) to help maintain your basic needs for safety, mobility, and daily living. You do not need to own or rent the home, but you must consider it your permanent residence. The home must be structurally sound and meet state safety requirements. Modifications must meet local and state codes.
If prior modifications need repair or replacement, or if your condition changes, L&I may consider additional modification for the same home.
L&I may pay the difference between the construction of a standard unmodified home and a modified home in the case of new home construction.
How Are Modifications Identified and Paid For?
A consultant will be sent on behalf of L&I to meet with you and assess the home. The consultant will then send a report to L&I outlining all modifications and equipment necessary.
L&I can pay up to the state’s average annual wage that is in effect on the date a request for modification is approved.
The state’s average annual wage is determined by the Washington State Department of Employment Security.
If you have questions regarding an L&I claim for home modification don’t hesitate to call Phillips law Firm for more information or to discuss your case with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.