Injured workers over the age of 50 who may be unable to return to work after completing medical treatment may be eligible for either a lifetime pension, or a “Claim Resolution Structured Settlement Agreement” (“CRSSA”).
The CRSSA is an amount paid by the Department of Labor and Industries or a self-insured employer in lieu of the lifetime pension payments. The CRSSA includes an initial lump sum, followed by the remainder of the settlement paid out over a period of months.
The amount of a CRSSA is always less than the annuity value of a pension. However, for some clients a CRSSA may be desirable. Getting a lump sum and the rest of the settlement in a short period of time can provide financial flexibility to pay off debts, make investments, or even start a business. Also, if a worker believes he may be able to work part-time, this is not prevented by a CRSSA, but may be if one takes a pension.
An injured worker needs to do a careful evaluation to decide which approach is best. There are other important considerations, such as how the CRSSA may affect Social Security or other government benefits.
At Lehmbecker Law, we are careful to ensure that all our clients have a complete understanding of their options and the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. There is so much at stake that workers are really at a disadvantage without legal advice from a competent Workers’ Compensation attorney.
If you have suffered a significant work injury that threatens your ability to work, call us to discuss your options and let us explain how we can assist you in obtaining a pension or a CRSSA.