Significant Decisions

SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT OFFSET (RCW 51.32.225)


SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT OFFSET (RCW 51.32.225)

Applicability

Persons not actually receiving permanent total disability benefits on June 30, 1986 (i.e., actually on the pension rolls) are subject to the social security retirement offset.  ….In re Frank Hansen, BIIA Dec., 87 1408 (1989) [dissent]; In re Lois Oakley, BIIA Dec., 87 3830 (1989) [dissent] [Editor's Note: The Board's decision was appealed to superior court under Kitsap County Cause No. 89-2-00991-7.]

Calculation

RCW 51.32.225 does not authorize the Department to offset social security retirement benefits for less than the dollar for dollar amount specified in the statute.  ….In re Howard Lambert, BIIA Dec., 01 23275 (2004) [Editor's Note: The Board's decision was appealed to superior court under Spokane County Cause No.03-2-04978-1 (7/30/03)  Cause No. 04-2-00943-4 (2/27/04 after remand).]

Where the worker received social security retirement benefits, the Department was not obliged to separately compute the worker's spouse's portion of benefits.  (Overruling In re Earl F. Lique, BIIA Dec., 88 3334 (1990)). ….In re Vernon Strand, BIIA Dec., 92 1604 (1993) [Editor's Note: The Board's decision was appealed to superior court under Kitsap County Cause No. 93-2-02652-0.]

In calculating the social security retirement offset where the worker has a dependent child, both the dependent child's time-loss compensation and federal retirement benefits are considered.  However, these amounts are considered separately from the benefits provided to the worker and require separate offset calculations for the worker and the dependent child.  Citing Anderson, 40 Wn.2d 210 (1952) and Gassaway, 18 Wn. App. 747 (1977).  ….In re Earl Lique, BIIA Dec., 88 3334 (1990) (Overruled, In re Vernon Strand, BIIA Dec., 92 1604 (1993)) [Editor's Note: The Board's decision was appealed to superior court under Pierce County Cause No. 90-2-02984-6.]

RCW 51.32.225 authorizes a dollar-for-dollar reduction of temporary or permanent total disability benefits by the amount of the social security retirement benefits.  Procedures for computing the social security disability offset, contained in RCW 51.32.220, do not apply to the social security retirement offset of RCW 51.32.225.  ….In re Lois Oakley, BIIA Dec., 87 3830 (1989) [dissent] [Editor's Note: The Board's decision was appealed to superior court under Kitsap County Cause No. 89-2-00991-7.]

Effective date of offset

The Department is not prevented from taking the social security reverse offset from a delayed lump sum payment after providing statutory notice that it is taking an offset, even if the delay in payment was due to a bureaucratic delay.  Overruling In re Kenneth Beitler, BIIA Dec., 58,976 (1982).  ….In re Eddy Maupin (I), BIIA Dec., 03 21206 (2004) [Editor's Note: The Board's decision was appealed to superior court under Clallam County Cause No.04-2-01200-0.  See also, Potter v. Department of Labor & Indus., 101 Wn. App 399 (2000).]

No federal pre-emption of social security retirement offset

There is no authority for the Social Security Administration to take an offset of state workers' compensation benefits against social security retirement benefits where the individual is not also receiving social security disability benefits.  Absent such authority the state is not pre-empted from enacting legislation allowing the offset of social security retirement benefits against state workers' compensation benefits.    ….In re Lois Oakley, BIIA Dec., 87 3830 (1989) [dissent]