Vocational Rehabilitation Vouchers and Your Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
Permanent disability resulting from an industrial injury can leave many people at a crossroads. If you’re no longer able to perform the kind of work you used to do—but are still deemed capable of performing some kind of work—you’re going to need to identify resources to assist you in building a new skill set. And you’re going to need to do it fast.
Until 2009, California offered the Vocational Rehabilitation program (VR)—essentially, a program that offered qualifying workers training, weekly compensation, and vocational counselors to help get them back on the job market.
Without VR, finding out that you can no longer return to your old job means that you must redirect as much of your temporary or state disability benefits toward retraining for the job market. Fortunately, there is a state provided resource that can help.
The Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB) Voucher
In order to qualify for the program, the following must be true:
- A workers’ compensation judge has awarded you permanent partial disability.
- Your previous employer has not offered you a modified or alternative job.
Within 25 days of being awarded permanent disability, you’ll receive a form from the insurance company to apply for the voucher.
How much will the voucher be?
If your injury happened between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2012, the amount of the voucher will vary according to your permanent partial disability rating.
- If less than 15%, the voucher can be up to $4,000.
- If between 15% and 25%, the voucher can be up to $6,000.
- If between 26% and 49%, the voucher can be up to $8,000.
- If between 50% and 99%, the voucher can be up to $10,000.
If your injury happened on or after January 1, 2013, the amount of the voucher will be $6,000. Up to $1000 of these vouchers can be used for a computer, while another $500 can be used as a “miscellaneous expense reimbursement or advance” for which you don’t need to provide documentation.
What can the voucher be used for?
Vouchers aren’t cash in the bank—in fact, use is extremely restricted and must be carefully documented. Items that can be purchased through the voucher include:
- Tuition for courses or skill enhancement at a California public school or any other provider approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
- Fees and taxes for licensing, certification, and testing.
- Books and materials.
- Shipping fees for distance learning courses.
- A computer, if required for your training.
- Vocational counseling services up to 10% of the voucher amount.
To learn more about your rights under California workers’ compensation law, set up a no-cost consultation with a Butte worker’s injury attorney today. Call 888-761-7383 or fill out our online form. Our informative report, The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual, is available to you free.