Benefits in Case of Supplemental Job Displacement
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers' Compensation Attorney. Injured workers in California may be eligible for certain benefits that you should know about. Supplemental job displacement benefits (SJDB) may be available to workers injured on or after January 1st, 2004, who sustained a permanent partial disability due to that injury, and who have not received an offer of any other work from their employer.
SJDB is provided as a voucher, which can be utilized to pay the costs of skill improvement or educational retraining or both, schools accredited or approved by the state. The voucher is non-transferable.
Criteria for SJDB Voucher and Conditions for Eligibility
A worker who suffered an injury between January 1st, 2004 and December 31st, 2012, where the injury led to permanent partial disability, and the worker failed to return to work within 60 days of the end of their temporary disability, may be eligible to receive the SJDB voucher. This eligibility, however, will not apply if the employer has offered and the worker has rejected or failed to accept, another position, lasting at least one year.
The SJDB voucher covers the costs of school fees, tuition, books, and other expenses required for training. A maximum of 10 percent of the voucher’s value can be utilized for return to work and vocational counseling. The voucher amount can range between $4,000 and $10,000, according to the extent of the permanent disability.
A worker who sustained an injury on or after January 1st, 2013, which led to permanent partial disability, and where the employer failed to offer alternative or modified work, may also be eligible to receive the SJDB voucher. The offer by the employer should be made within 60 days of the receipt of the doctor’s Return to Work and Voucher Report by the claims administrator.
For all permanent disability levels, the amount of the voucher is $6,000, and it can be utilized for training at a public school in California or any other provider who is included in the eligible training provider list of the state. The amount can also be used to pay certification, licensing or testing fees, to buy training tools, to buy computer or related equipment up to $1,000, and to cover miscellaneous expenses up to $500.
Up to 10 percent of this amount can be utilized to pay for the services of a vocational counselor or a licensed placement agent. Up to 10 percent of the amount can also be used for return to work and vocational counseling.
Date of Availability of the Voucher
If the worker was injured between January 1st, 2004 and December 31st, 2012, they will be offered the voucher when their permanent disability level has been determined. The PD (permanent disability) level could be determined when the employer or the insurer and the injured worker comes to an agreement or an award is decided by a workers’ compensation judge.
The worker must receive the voucher within 25 calendar days after the workers’ compensation judge has issued the permanent PD award at the local district office of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. If the injury occurred on or after January 1st, 2013, the due date of the voucher will be 20 calendar days after the expiry of the period for making an offer of alternative, modified, or regular work. In this type of situation, the pay cannot be below 85 percent of the earnings of the worker at time the injury occurred, and should be expected to last for a minimum of one year.
When the Worker Refuses to Accept Employer’s Job Offer
If the worker was injured between January 1st, 2004 and December 31st, 2012, and received a notice of offer from the employer for alternative or modified work within 30 days of his or her last TD (temporary disability) payment, while also meeting certain other requirements, but the injured worker failed to accept the offer, they will be no longer eligible to receive the SJDB voucher.
However, the employer’s offer of alternative or modified work should fulfill the following requirements:
- The injured worker has the ability to carry out the key functions of the job
- The offer is made for a regular job lasting at least one year
- The amount of wage and compensation in the job offer is at least 85 percent of what the worker was receiving at the time of the injury
- The location of the job is within reasonable distance from the worker’s home at the time of injury
For any injury at the workplace occurring on or after January 1st, 2013, if the employer offers regular, alternative, or modified work within 60 days from the date of receipt of the doctor’s Return to Work and Voucher Report by the claims administrator, and the offer fulfills certain minimum requirements, the injured worker refuses to accept the offer, he or she will not be eligible to receive the voucher. The offered job must not be filed with the DWC.
Voucher Procedure for an Injury between Jan 1st, 2004 to Dec 31st, 2012
A worker injured between these dates will receive the voucher on form # 10133.57. Lines 1 to 8 in the voucher would have been completed by the claims administrator. The worker will be required to complete lines 9 to 19. The DWC website provides a list of counselors available to the injured worker.
If the worker does not choose a counselor, they can skip lines 9 to 12 in the voucher. The worker’s chosen training provider will help them in completing lines 13 to 19. A list of accredited private schools in the worker’s area can be obtained from the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
Once the worker has completed the voucher, they should sign it and put a date before returning it to the claims administrator. Any invoices or receipts of a payment received directly should be attached with the voucher. The worker is expected to receive the payment within 45 days from the date the voucher has been received by the claims administrator.
Voucher Procedure for an Injury on or after January 1st, 2013
A worker injured on or after this date will receive the voucher on form #10133.32. The first page of the voucher would have been filled by the claims administrator. The second page should be filled by the worker if they are going to utilize the services of a training provider or a return to work or vocational counselor.
Once completed, the first and second pages of the voucher should be sent to the claims administrator. If the worker wants to receive a reimbursement or advance on miscellaneous expenditures up to $500, they should complete the third page on the voucher. For reimbursement against the costs of tuition, fees, computer equipment, books and training tools, page four should be completed and sent to the claims administrator. Relevant receipts and documents should be attached.
Payment can be expected within 45 days from the date the completed voucher is received by the claims administrator. The worker who was injured on after January 1st, 2013 and is in receipt of the SJDB voucher may be eligible for a return to work supplement (one-time) of $5,000. The claims administrator will prepare a cover sheet that includes information about the Return to Work Supplement Program. This cover sheet will accompany all the vouchers.
Determining Voucher Amounts
For a worker injured between January 1st, 2004 and December 31st, 2012, the voucher amount will vary according to the level of their permanent partial disability (PD) award.
- If the permanent PD is below 15 percent: Voucher amount of up to $4,000
- If the permanent PD is between 15 and 25 percent: Voucher amount of up to $6,000
- If the permanent PD is between 26 and 49 percent: Voucher amount of up to $8,000
- If the permanent PD is between 50 and 99 percent: Voucher amount of up to $10,000
If the worker was injured on or after January 1st, 2013, the voucher amount will be $6,000.
Disagreement about the SJDB Voucher with the Claims Administrator
In case of a disagreement, the worker can file the form known as the Request for Dispute Resolution, which is available with the DWC. The Administrative Director will assess the form and make a decision. While completing this form, the injured worker should spell out the issues in clear details and provide relevant facts or information in support of each issue. All relevant documents must be enclosed within this form.
Sacramento Workers' Compensation Attorney
I'm Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers' Compensation Attorney. If you or your loved one was injured at work and need the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Sacramento, I can help. Call me right away at 916.921.6400 for compassionate, free and friendly advice at no obligation. I can also be reached anytime online at AutoAccident.com.
I have the distinction of membership with the Million Dollar Forum. This group recognizes accident lawyers who have won million-dollar cases. You can see summaries of some of the Settlements and Verdicts I have earned for my clients by visiting my website.
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