California Workers Comp Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
Ideally, after receiving medical treatment for a job-related injury, you will be back to normal and back to work in a short period of time. But sometimes, things don’t go as expected. What would happen if your injuries result in a permanent disability, or you can no longer perform the essential duties of your former position?
Workers Comp Options for Permanently Disabled Workers
If you are not able to return to your former position due to permanent limitations but you can still do some other type of work, the workers comp system may be able to help. They provide supplemental benefits designed to assist you as you look for a new line of work. These supplemental benefits are in addition to the other workers comp benefits available in California. Supplemental job displacement benefits, or vocational rehabilitation retraining, come in the form of a voucher that can be used to offset expenses of job retraining.
Qualifying for Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
In order to qualify for supplemental job displacement benefits, you must have suffered a permanent partial disability that resulted from your work-related injury or illness, and your employer has not or cannot offer regular, modified, or alternative work that meets the legal requirements.
Once your doctor has determined that your medical condition is permanent and unlikely to improve, he or she will then decide if you have a permanent disability. Next, the doctor will write up a report specifying what tasks you can and can’t do (work restrictions), and how those restrictions affect your ability to do your job.
Returning to Modified or Alternative Work after Workers Comp Injury
If you can’t return to the same position you held prior to your injury, your employer may be able to adjust your duties to accommodate your restrictions so that you can still return to work. Or, there may be another position available that would allow you to return to work.
Whether you are offered a modified position or an alternative work, it must meet the following criteria:
it must provide employment for at least 12 months
it must pay at least 85% of what you were earning prior to becoming injured, and
it must be located within a reasonable commuting distance of your location at the time of the injury.
Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher
If your employer is not able to offer you modified or alternative work within 60 days after receiving the doctor’s report, you will qualify for supplemental job displacement benefits. Within 20 days after the 60 day period, your insurance company’s claims administrator will send you the job displacement voucher.
The supplemental job displacement voucher will pay up to $6,000 for retraining expenses such as tuition fees, books, tools and other required training expenses, and up to $500 for miscellaneous educational expenses, such as transportation and uniforms. Courses must be taken at a California public school or a program that is run by an eligible training provider. It can also be used for licensing or certification fees and exams, and associated classes to prepare for those licenses.
In addition to education and certification expenses, the voucher will also pay up to $1,000 for computer equipment, and up to $600 to pay costs associated with a licensed placement agency, vocational counselor, or resume preparation service.
Reimbursement under Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher
Once you pay an eligible expense, you must submit receipts to the claims administrator before the voucher expires (two years after it was issued or five years after the injury, whichever is later). Direct payments will be made to schools or counselors if you present the voucher to them. The claims administrator will reimburse you for your documented out-of-pocket expenses or make direct payments within 45 days after receiving the completed voucher form and documentation.
Return-to-Work Supplement Program
If you can show that your permanent disability benefits are substantially lower than the amount of earnings you lost because of your injuries, California has another program that may provide additional assistance. This one-time payment is set at $5,000, which amount may be adjusted by the state. Application for the return-to-work supplement may be made online within one year after you received the displacement voucher.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Lawyers
California provides a number of valuable benefits to a worker who has been injured on the job. Understanding the qualifications and limitations on these benefits is not easy, however. One of the services an experienced workers comp lawyer can provide is to outline an overview of the benefits to which you are entitled. Your lawyer can also provide valuable advice on how to apply for the benefits, and how to proceed if for some reason you are not receiving them.
Our workers comp lawyers are available to assist you. Whether you have just been injured or are part way through the process, give us a call and set up a free consultation. We will review your case and provide you with the help you need to resolve your claim, receive your benefits, and move forward with your life.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.
Long Beach Workers Compensation lawyers FREE CONSULTATION: 800-964-8047