No matter how careful you are to follow safety guidelines at work, accidents happen. A serious injury can change your life in an instant, preventing you from being able to move the way you used to or perform daily activities without assistance. If your disability is severe, you may be physically unable to return to your former job and earn a living – even with modified or alternative work.
Fortunately, in addition to paying benefits for missed wages and medical expenses, workers’ compensation has a program that helps permanently disabled employees train for new careers. Supplemental job displacement benefits, or vocational rehabilitation retraining, can be used to pay for the costs of school, career counseling, certification fees, and other expenses required to enter a new line of work.
At The Law Office of Matthew Russell, our attorneys are experts in workers’ compensation law and can help you find the vocational retraining program you need for a fresh start.
WHAT IS A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION RETRAINING PROGRAM?
A retraining program is a workers’ compensation benefit that is designed to help injured employees re-enter the workforce. The benefit allows a permanently disabled worker to be paid two-thirds of his or her weekly wage while training for a new job in a different field. A vocational rehabilitation counselor will help you enroll in a school or certification program that will lead to gainful employment. When you do find a job, your workers’ compensation wage loss benefits will stop. However, if you are only able to find a job that pays you less than your previous wage, workers’ compensation must make up the difference.
WHAT IS A RETRAINING VOUCHER? HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH?
A retraining voucher is simply the name for the workers’ compensation benefit allocated for job retraining expenses. The voucher can be used to pay for school or professional certification in California, as well as any books or materials required for the course. An injured worker can use up to 10 percent of the voucher’s value for career counseling services, such as resume building or interview assistance.
The value of the retraining voucher depends on the date of your injury. For injuries occurring in 2013 or after, the voucher is worth $6,000 for all permanently disabled workers. The retraining voucher cannot be used to pay for anything other than the expenses related to a retraining program, and it must be used within two years of its issue date or within five years of the injury, whichever is later.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION RETRAINING PROGRAM?
There are three main criteria that must be met in order to qualify for a workers’ compensation retraining program.
- You must have a permanent disability, meaning you have some type of lasting impairment that is not expected to improve.
- You must not be able to return to your previous job and perform the assigned duties due to your limitations.
- Your employer must not have offered you modified work or alternative work within 60 days of receiving a doctor’s report stating your work restrictions.
If you can’t return to your former position and your employer wasn’t able to place you in a role that accommodated your work restrictions, you may qualify for a workers’ compensation retraining program. The best way to determine your eligibility is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
CALL US TO FIND OUT IF YOU QUALIFY FOR A WORKERS’ COMP RETRAINING PROGRAM
A work-related injury can flip your world upside down, especially if you’re adjusting to a permanent disability and can’t go back to your old job. Fortunately, a workers’ compensation retraining program can provide you with the financial means to pursue a fresh start in a new career. If you’ve been seriously injured at work and aren’t sure where to turn, give us a call. At The Law Office of Matthew Russell, we’ll review your case for free and give you honest advice about how to move forward. Call us today at (619) 544-1506