Travel expense reimbursement is a benefit which some injured workers are eligible to receive. The benefit is small, and the rules only allow these benefits in some circumstances. The highlights of these rules follow.
When Do You Get Reimbursement for Travel?
- Medical examinations at department’s or self-insurer’s request (IME’s)
- Vocational services at department’s or self-insurer’s request
- Fitting of prosthetic device
- Medical treatment trips – with prior authorization
- Vocational training trips – with prior authorization
How Do You Get Reimbursed?
- Travel Reimbursement Request Form – Your request must be made within one year of the trip and must indicate the date, destination, and reason for travel. Reimbursement Request
- Save Receipts! Receipts are required for all expenses except parking expenses under $10.
What is a Travel Expense?
- Lodging, food, mileage, taxi, parking, tolls, etc.
How Much is Reimbursed?
- Travel expenses will be reimbursed at the current Department rate, subject to the New Travel Rules below.
- Reimbursement is based on the current Domestic Per Diem rates. See http://www.ofm.wa.gov/policy/10.90a.pdf for current rates.
- IME’s – Hourly wage at the time of the exam for missed work; meals; hotel expenses; taxi fare; parking costs; and ferry and bridge tolls.
- Upon prior authorization for treatment or vocational retraining when worker must travel more than fifteen miles one-way from the worker’s home to the nearest point of adequate treatment or vocational retraining. Travel expenses will not be paid if a worker chooses to seek treatment with a provider outside the fifteen mile home radius when adequate treatment is available inside the home area.
- When travel expense is authorized for medical treatment the first fifteen miles one-way are not payable. The first and last fifteen miles are not payable on an authorized round trip. For example, your claim manager approved travel for treatment 45 miles round trip from your home. You will be reimbursed for 15 miles (45 miles minus 30 miles).
Out of State Injured Workers
- Payment for some travel costs may be considered if travel is pre-approved by your claim manager.
New Travel Rules Effective August 1, 2015 – WAC 296-20-1103, the rules have changed:
Previously: Workers participating in vocational retraining were excluded from receiving mileage reimbursement for the first fifteen miles of an authorized one-way trip and the first and last fifteen miles of an authorized round
Now: Workers who are participating in a vocational retraining plan are entitled to reimbursement for all authorized travel associated with the retraining, with no reduction of mileage
Workers who are or have been in an approved vocational plan may request reimbursement for the 30 miles (or less) per round trip that previously went unpaid. These mileage requests are payable for any dates of travel that occurred within one year of the date the request for reimbursement is received.
Workers with questions should be referred to their vocational rehabilitation counselors.