HELP is here for workers’ compensation

As Project HELP outreach has increased, so have claim inquiries


SEATTLE (Sept. 6, 2023) — If you don’t know help is available, you can’t ask for it.

That’s been the thinking at the Washington State Labor Council’s Project HELP, which has stepped up outreach promoting its services. This is the program that educates injured workers on how to navigate the state’s workers’ compensation system and offers workshops explaining this safety net for injured workers and their families.

Project HELP Director Jessica Gallardo and Senior Claims Specialist Kathy Petruzzelli and Bilingual Claims Specialist Emmanuel Carrillo are doing more workshops, more presentations, more labor-management events, and generally seizing more other opportunities to spread the word about the program. During its 2022-2023 contract period, Project HELP participated in more than 200 such events, a 43 percent increase from the previous year.

As outreach has increased, so have the inquiries from people seeking assistance.

The contract year summary of data collected July 2022 through June 2023 found that Project HELP responded to a total of 1,754 claim inquiries, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. These inquiries are commonly about workers’ compensation processes, including how to file a claim, what the claimant’s responsibilities are, who is eligible for time-loss payments, or how to resolve medical treatment issues.

It’s been 10 years since Project HELP began providing services in Spanish. As the program has collaborated with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries to promote outreach to the Latino community (see L&I’s Spanish website), the number of Spanish-language claim inquiries have also increased. More than one-third of last year’s claims — 37 percent — were Spanish claim inquiries, a 3 percent increase from the previous year.

“I consider education a key to understanding how to navigate the system,” Gallardo said. “Our workshops are tailored to fit the needs of whatever audience we have — apprentices, union stewards, or whoever invites us. Helping folks understand their rights and responsibilities in the workers’ compensation system makes them better prepared to understand and complete the necessary processes.”

If your organization, union or apprenticeship program would like to arrange a workers’ compensation workshop, contact Project HELP at 1-800-255-9752 or via this email form. If you or a loved one have been injured on the job or developed a medical condition from the performance of job duties, you need to be proactive about ensuring your “sure and certain relief” in the workers’ compensation system. Contact Project HELP today!

For more information about Project HELP’s services, download its English and Spanish brochure, or visit its website.


WSLC Wednesdays is a feature of The Stand where different departments of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO describe their recent activities and the services they are providing to WSLC-affiliated unions.

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