Bulletin 97-5
March 5, 1997

DWC Adopts New DWC Vocational Rehabilitation Unit Guidelines

The Division of Workers' Compensation has adopted a revised set of administrative guidelines for the DWC Rehabilitation Unit. The guidelines, covering 48 subjects, provide policy and procedure direction for the day-to-day activities of the division's rehabilitation consultants.

"This is the first comprehensive overhaul of the guidelines in 13 years," said DWC Administrative Director Casey L. Young. "The new policy document will help ensure that state vocational rehabilitation laws and regulations are interpreted and implemented consistently across the state," he said.

These revisions are important because there have been major changes to State Labor Code and Title 8, California Code of Regulations sections that pertain to the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in workers' compensation cases in recent years, particularly as a result of the 1993 reforms. The revised guidelines now reflect those changes, Young said.

The revisions are the result of over a year's work by DWC rehabilitation staff working together with the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee, which is composed of representatives of the employer, employee, applicants' attorney, insurance, and vocational rehabilitation communities.

Included in the revised guidelines are eight new subjects, including return to modified/alternate work, waiver of qualified rehabilitation representative, uninsured employer fund cases, vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance, interpreters' fees, dispute resolution, fee disputes, and considerations for audit referral.

Another seven subjects were significantly changed, including those dealing with the independent vocational evaluator, vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance vocational rehabilitation and/or temporary disability during on-the-job training, maintenance benefits due to public safety employees, self-employment/capital investment, maintenance and transfer of case files, proceedings before the WCAB, and public access to Rehabilitation Unit records.

The revised guidelines are available for downloading from DWC's home page on the world wide web, which is accessible from the Department of Industrial Relations' website at http://www.dir.ca.gov. They may also be obtained by writing to: Division of Workers' Compensation, P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142, Attn: Rehabilitation Unit Administrative Guidelines.