He’s in for Drastic Changes
The ironworker’s leg was so severely fractured that it had to be amputated below the knee, and other multiple fractures required multiple surgeries. Six months in and out of the hospital is a long time, but fortunately, his employer’s workers’ compensation insurer covered everything. He’s in physical therapy now, and he’s coming along nicely, but he’ll never be an ironworker again. His employer is unable to offer him an alternative or modified position, so he has to find other work. Rather than lay around feeling sorry for himself, he wants to go back to work again doing something new. How do California workers’ compensation laws approach this?
Fortunately, workers’ compensation laws in California allow a severely injured employee who is unable to return to his or her former job to receive benefits for vocational rehabilitation. Here’s how it works. Vocational rehabilitation benefits are also known as supplemental job replacement benefits. It’s not a cash benefit like TTD. It comes in the form of a voucher that the injured worker can use for help in learning a new job that can be used in a different type of work.
Who is Eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation?
In order to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation, you must meet three prerequisites. Here’s what they are:
- You have to be permanently disabled. Your doctor will issue a statement that you’re permanently disabled within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
- You can’t be able to return to your job. That opinion must be offered by your treating physician.
- Your employer is unable to offer you a modified or alternative job.
What You Can Do With the Voucher
For injuries that occurred after 2012, the vocational voucher is worth $6,000. It has to be used within two years of its issuance or five years from the date of injury, whichever is later. The voucher cannot be exchanged for cash. It can be used at any public school in California or any other provider that appears on the California’s eligible training provider list. The voucher can be used for miscellaneous expenses and up to $1,000 of computer equipment. Although there are some limitations, it can also be used to pay for licensing and certification fees, tools and even career counseling.
We want to see you working and being productive again after a career ending injury. We can help you obtain a voucher for supplemental job replacement benefits. Contact us today for a free consultation.