Can I get Vocational Retraining?
No. This program has been eliminated and replaced with a Voucher/Return-to-Work Supplement Program. For injuries occurring after January 1, 2013, the Voucher is set and capped at $6,000.00. Having such a voucher may qualify you for the Return-to-Work Supplement Program (RTWSP).
The Return-to-Work Supplement Program is one of the components of Senate Bill 863. Labor Code section 139.48 requiring the Director to administer a $120 million fund for the purpose of making supplemental payments to workers whose permanent disability benefits are disproportionately low in comparison to their earnings losses. The program is based on studies conducted by RAND regarding permanent disability; specifically “Identifying Permanently Disabled Workers with Disproportionate Earnings Losses for Supplemental Payments.”
What is the amount of the supplement?
A one-time $5,000 Return-to-Work supplement is issued to an injured worker who meets the eligibility criteria. The amount of this supplement may be adjusted by the director of DIR based on further studies conducted by the director in accordance with Labor Code section 139.48.
Eligibility for RTWSP:
An applicant must have a date of injury (DOI) on or after Jan. 1, 2013 and have received a Supplemental Job displacement Benefit (SJDB) voucher for said injury.
What is the deadline for applying:
The application for the supplemental benefit must be received by the RTWSP within one year from the date the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit (SJDB) voucher was served on the applicant or within one year from April 13, 2015, the implementation date of the regulations, whichever is later.
How to apply:
The application for this one-time supplemental payment is available online and can be completed from any computer which has access to the internet at //www.dir.ca.gov/RTWSP/RTWSP.html.
If you do not have access to a computer, every DWC district office has a kiosk near the Information and Assistance office equipped with a computer, scanner, and printer for your use.
You will need the following information to complete the application:
SJDB voucher or SJDB voucher proof of service, the ADJ number, and the SJDB voucher in .pdf or .tiff format for uploading and attaching to the online application.
What if I am denied the supplement and I disagree with the RTWSP’s eligibility decision?
If you disagree with the final eligibility decision, you can appeal to the WCAB within 20 days of the service of the eligibility decision by filing a Petition for Reconsideration and serving a copy of the petition on the RTWSP, 1515 Clay St, 17th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612.
Need further assistance or have questions regarding eligibility?
Contact RTWSP staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-286-0787 Monday-Friday, 8:00-5:00 p.m. PST.
Can I get Vocational Retraining if I cannot return to my job because of my injury?
The short answer is No. In 2004 the right to vocational retraining was eliminated. The right to vocational retraining was replaced with a "supplemental job displacement voucher" program. The entitlement to the voucher only comes once the case is over. If your doctor states that you are permanently unable to do your usual job, and your employer does not offer you permanent modified work, you may qualify for the supplemental job displacement voucher. It comes in the form of a non-transferable voucher that can be used to pay for educational retraining or skill enhancement, or both, at state-approved or state-accredited schools. The voucher covers school tuition, fees, books and expenses required by the school for training. No more than 10% of the value of the voucher can be used for vocational & return to work counseling. If eligible, you should receive the voucher from the insurance carrier within 45 days from the date of your settlement. The insurance carrier should have completed lines 1 - 8 of the voucher and you are then responsible for completing lines 9 - 19. Lines 9 - 12 must be completed when using a vocational counselor. Your attorney can provide you recommendations for a vocational counselor upon request. If you do not select a counselor, you do not need to complete lines 9 - 12. The training provider you select should assist you in completing the lines 13 - 19 on the voucher. You can contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) at www.bppve.ca.gov to get a list of accredited training providers in your area. When you have completed the voucher, you must sign and date it before sending it back to the insurance carrier. You must also attach any receipts or invoices for direct payment to you, the training provider, and/or the vocational counselor. Payment should be made within 60 days from the date the insurance carrier receives the voucher.
The amount of the voucher depends on the amount of your final PD award:
Less than 15% = $4,000 voucher
Between 15% and 25% = $6,000 voucher
Between 26% and 49% = $8,000 voucher
Between 50% and 99% = $10,000 voucher
Again, for injuries on or after January 1, 2013, the Voucher is set at $6,000.00 and the RTWSP may apply.