California’s Return to Work Supplement Program (“RTWSP”)
Did you know there are benefits available under the California workers’ compensation system to help injured workers that are not medically able to return to their job due to an industrial injury?
Although returning to work is often priority for both you and your employer, your injury might have been severe enough that you are not medically able to return to work. Your next option might be enrollment in vocational job retraining classes through a school where you can learn a new trade or skill.
For dates of injury of January 1, 2013 and later, an injured worker that is unable to medically return to work to the preinjury employer and/or preinjury job may be entitled to a $6,000 Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher (“voucher”) that goes directly to a school for vocational job retraining classes.
An injured worker that has received the voucher may also be entitled to a $5,000 payment directly to the injured worker from the Return To Work Supplement Program (“RTWSP”). SB 863 established the $120 million per year RTWSP to be established and administered by the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”). Payments from the fund are available to injured workers whose permanent disability ratings are disproportionately low in comparison to their wage loss.
Under SB 863, for dates of injury of January 1, 2013 and thereafter, an injured worker may be entitled to an additional $5,000 payable to the injured worker from RTWSP from the DIR. Benefits under the RTWSP are only payable to an injured worker that has already received a $6,000 voucher and that makes a timely application to the RTWSP through the DIR. The deadline for filing the application to receive the RTWSP benefit is one year from the date the voucher was served on the injured worker, or one year from the date the regulation was implemented on April 13, 2015 (i.e., expiration on 4/13/16) whichever is later. The application for the RTWSP is only available online and can be found here.
All completed and timely filed applications will be reviewed and eligibility determination made by the RTWSP within 60 days from receipt of application. The payment will be made within 25 days of the eligibility determination. If the injured worker disagrees with the final eligibility decision, the injured worker can appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”) within 20 days of the service of the eligibility decision by filing a Petition for Reconsideration and serving a copy of the petition on the RTWSP, 1515 Clay St, 17th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612.
Ford & Wallach is Los Angeles’ most prestigious workers’ compensation law firm. We work closely with vocational experts that specialize in helping injured workers with career counseling services for the voucher and making applications to the RTWSF. Let us help you navigate the workers’ compensation system for the best outcome in your workers’ compensation case! If you think you have a workers’ compensation claim, please call 213.380.3140 for a free consultation, or click here to contact us by email.