In California Workers' Compensation some injured workers are unable to return to their previous employment. California offers a re-training voucher to get an injured worker started on a new career. Amounts of a Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit, SJDB, also commonly called a voucher, depends upon the date of injury and level of permanent disability.
For injuries occurring between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2012, the amount of the voucher depends on the amount of your disability award:
Up to $4,000 voucher for permanent partial disability of less than 15 percent
Up to $6,000 voucher for permanent partial disability between 15 and 25 percent
Up to $8,000 voucher for permanent partial disability between 26 and 49 percent
Up to $10,000 voucher for permanent partial disability between 50 and 99 percent
For injuries occurring on or after Jan 1, 2013, the amount of the voucher is $6000 for all injured workers.
Generally speaking, a voucher is not available to injured workers who are offered a modified or alternative position with their employer. The modified employment must meet the following conditions:
You have the ability to perform the essential functions of the job
The job is a regular position lasting at least 12 months
The job offers wages and compensation that are at least 85 percent of those paid to you at the time of your injury
The job is located within reasonable commuting distance of your residence at the time of injury.
For dates of Injury 1/1/13 or later, you are not able to settle your SJDB as part of a Compromise & Release. Prior dates of injury could settle this as part of the overall claim.
To utilize the voucher, you need to find an accredited school in California. This means you may use your voucher at a college or university. Also, there are alternative programs offering a wide degree of professional development.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kristin Crispelle of iLearn Institute. She went over the professional development and courses iLearn offers through a voucher. Additional details on iLearn's voucher programs or visit them at www.ilearninstitute.com.
Should you have additional questions about getting your SJDB voucher, the Division of Workers' Compensation has a FAQ page. Should you have additional questions about your work comp claim, please contact your nearest Workers' Compensation Law Center.