For injuries on or after 1/1/04, injured workers may be entitled to a supplemental job displacement voucher to help pay for job training or education. The rules differ for injuries before 1/1/13 and those after 1/1/13. The general rules are summarized by the Department of Industrial Relations as follows:
“Q: What is the SJDB voucher and what is covered?
A: Employees injured between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2012, who are permanently unable to do their usual job, and whose employer does not offer other work, may qualify for the SJDB. The benefit 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 percent of the value of the voucher can be used for vocational & return to work counseling. The amount of the voucher varies from $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the permanent disability level.
Employees injured on or after Jan. 1, 2013, who are permanently unable to do their usual job, and whose employer does not offer other work, may also qualify for the SJDB voucher. The voucher amount is $6000 for all permanent disability ratings and can be used for training at a California public school or any other provider listed on the state’s eligible training provider list. It can also be used to pay licensing or certification and testing fees, to purchase tools required by a training course, to purchase computer equipment of up to $1,000 and to reimburse up to $500 in miscellaneous expenses. Up to 10 percent, or $600 may be used to pay for the services of a licensed placement agency or vocational counselor. No more than 10 percent of the value of the voucher can be used for vocational & return to work counseling.
Q: When is the voucher available?
A.For injuries occurring between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2012, the voucher is offered to an injured worker when his or her PD level has been determined, either by way of an agreement between the worker and the employer or insurance company or by way of an award by a workers’ compensation judge. For injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the voucher is due 60 days after a treating doctor, agreed medical evaluator (AME), or qualified medical evaluator (QME) declares the injured worker permanent and stationary, and issues a report outlining the worker’s work capacities, if the employer does not offer the worker a job. The job must pay no less than 85 percent of the worker’s earnings at the time of the injury, and must be expected to last at least 12 months.”
Silberman & Lam, LLP will assist you with timely obtaining and using your supplemental job displacement voucher.