Ability-to-Work Assessment

About Ability-to-Work Assessment

The Ability-to-Work Assessment (AWA) provides L&I information to make an appropriate determination regarding worker's employability or eligibility for vocational rehab services. It may also help injured workers plan for the future by identifying their return-to-work options.

An injured worker's transferable skills are analyzed during the AWA process:

  • If there hasn't been a previous Early Intervention (EI) referral, the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) is required to address the first 4 return-to-work priorities.
  • Transferable skills are based on demonstrated skills from the injured worker's vocational background and non-work-related experience. A recommendation can say that an injured worker has the transferable skills to perform a new job. It also must documented that past skills allow the injured worker to perform the essential functions of the new job.
  • The essential functions of the recommended job should match the essential functions from the injured worker's experience.

An injured worker isn't employable at a recommended job if modifications to that job are needed. Those modifications aren't commonly and currently available in that injured worker's labor market.

In addition to the WACs, providers will want to consider the Vocational Guidelines in Chapter 296-19A WAC (app.leg.wa.gov).




Assessing Your Ability to Work: Your Rights and Responsibilities (F280‑017‑000).

Find a complete list of vocational forms and publications.

Helpful links


WAC 296-19A-010 (app.leg.wa.gov)
(1) What does it mean to say an injured worker is employable?
(6) What is a job analysis?
(7) What is a transferable skill?
(8) What is a transferable skills analysis?

WAC 296-19A-170 (app.leg.wa.gov)
What information must a provider include in a job analysis?

WAC 296-19A-070 (app.leg.wa.gov)
What is an Ability-to-Work Assessment?

WAC 296-19A-080 (app.leg.wa.gov)
How often must written progress reports be completed and submitted during assessment activities?

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