DWC has posted an online discussion forum on preliminary proposals for regulations that would implement the new supplemental job displacement benefit contained in Assembly Bill 227, enacted last year.
This benefit essentially replaces the vocational rehabilitation benefit for workers injured on or after Jan. 1, 2004. As there is no indication that Assembly Bill 227 is retroactive, employees with dates of injury prior to Jan. 1, 2004 will be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits.
The supplemental job displacement benefit is a nontransferable voucher for education-related retraining or skill enhancement, or both, payable to state approved or accredited schools. To qualify, the statute requires that the injury must result in a permanent disability, the injured employee does not return to work within 60 days after temporary disability ends, and the employer does not offer modified or alternative work. The maximum voucher amount is $10,000.
The forum is located in the DWC/WCAB Forums section of the DWC Web site: http://www.dir.ca.gov/wcjudicial.htm. Comments will be accepted until close of business Friday, Feb. 13. After the forum closes, DWC will begin the regular rulemaking process, including the scheduling of public hearings.
Please feel free to review these proposals and submit your comments, which will be very helpful in the final drafting of the regulations that will be formally proposed.