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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Vocational Rehab

    i received a letter from my workers comp carrier that says:

    The AME doctor reports that you cannot return to your regular job duties. Your employer is looking for a job that meets your work restrictions. You will be notified within 30 days.
    I've returned to work with restrictions as of May 31, part time 4 hours.

    I'm not sure if this is good news, cuz if i take another job within the company i know i will be making much less. But i guess it's best to go with it.

    The other letter they sent me is a Vocational Rehabilitation Reply form it says that i am eligible for vocational rehab my question is can you take the vocational rehab and the permanent disability supplement payments at the same time?

    I called my attorneys office and the girl they have handling my case just told me to check both boxes and see what happens, yea she seems to know as much as i do about w/c lol.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,011

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    Yes, you can participate in a VR program, and recieve PDA's at the same time.

    When you rtw, in a modified or alternate position, it is supposed to be for a period to last at least 12 months, or until your restrictions are lifted, depending on whether the restrictions are temporary or permenant in nature.
    You should sit down with a HR represenative and discuss what jobs would be appropriate for you. They should not just be 'looking' for something without your input.
    As to your wage, any change in your pay rate, should not be less than a 15% reduction. An offer of alternate/modified work must be made within 60 days of your being P&S/MMI, if they don't make the offer, and your ER has more than 50 employees you could be entitled to a 15% increase in your PD. IF they do make the offer and you take it, you could also face a 15% reduction in your PD....there's a double edge sword here...

    IF you have an attorney, and do not wish to participate in a formal VR program, you can negotiate a lump sum buy out of the VR benefits. The maximum available is $10K for this, and you must be represented.
    BTW... the only way you will be able to participate in or get a buy out on the VR benefits is IF your ER does not have a job for you...you won't get both a job and VR.

    Come to think of it...the letter you got makes no sense at all..."The AME doctor reports that you cannot return to your regular job duties. Your employer is looking for a job that meets your work restrictions. You will be notified within 30 days. "
    I've returned to work with restrictions as of May 31, part time 4 hours.

    IF the AME says you CAN NOT return to your previous job, that would mean you are a QIW. WHY is your ER looking for a job for you that fits your restrictions? It MUST be a completely different job than you were doing before. At the very least, not contain ANY job duties that were in your previous job...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    One Cavet.
    I was given the Voucher for Re-education / Rehabilitation in California.
    It is WORTHLESS to try to return to school for retraining. There is nothing set-up to utilize these vouchers. I was told at USC and UCLA that I would have to pay for my classes and then Bill the IC for my expenses.. Lots of Luck, since I have been waiting over 2 years just for my Mileage to be reimbursed.
    My Attorney said we'll just settle the Voucher when we go to the WCAB. I wanted to re-educate myself, and be able to get off W/C and Supprot my family.. Fat Chance if you are dealing with Zurich or one of the Providian plans.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,011

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    There has been some discussion on the WCC "Professional" forum regarding the buy out lump sum of the vouchers....you can read the thread here...http://www.workcompforums.com/ca/pro...&threadid=3966
    It's not clear yet as to whether or not judges will approve a buy out of the vouchers... probably need to wait for some precedence to get a ruling. But sometimes cash in hand is better than inadequated retraining.

    In the mean time, talk to your CA and ask for direction on the use of the vouchers. You cannot get reimbursement for out of pocket educational expense. THe money is paid directly to the approved facility. The voucher system/benefit is fairly new so not many higher education facilities, ie University/College's are familiar with the program. As the amount of the voucher is dependant on your final PD rating, and the amount is set by law, it probably won't go all that far in tuition at UCLA or the like. The vouchers are actually intended to be used at a "trade school", vs for tuition at a higher education school, and use to train for a 'new' type of job. "Job" training isn't what you get at the university level...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,108

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    Yes, it is clear that the judges can approve a buyout of your voucher:

    California Code of Regulations, Title 8
    [B]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    Quote Quoting BvIA View Post
    Yes, you can participate in a VR program, and recieve PDA's at the same time.

    When you rtw, in a modified or alternate position, it is supposed to be for a period to last at least 12 months, or until your restrictions are lifted, depending on whether the restrictions are temporary or permenant in nature.
    You should sit down with a HR represenative and discuss what jobs would be appropriate for you. They should not just be 'looking' for something without your input.
    As to your wage, any change in your pay rate, should not be less than a 15% reduction. An offer of alternate/modified work must be made within 60 days of your being P&S/MMI, if they don't make the offer, and your ER has more than 50 employees you could be entitled to a 15% increase in your PD. IF they do make the offer and you take it, you could also face a 15% reduction in your PD....there's a double edge sword here...

    IF you have an attorney, and do not wish to participate in a formal VR program, you can negotiate a lump sum buy out of the VR benefits. The maximum available is $10K for this, and you must be represented.
    BTW... the only way you will be able to participate in or get a buy out on the VR benefits is IF your ER does not have a job for you...you won't get both a job and VR.

    Come to think of it...the letter you got makes no sense at all..."The AME doctor reports that you cannot return to your regular job duties. Your employer is looking for a job that meets your work restrictions. You will be notified within 30 days. "
    I've returned to work with restrictions as of May 31, part time 4 hours.

    IF the AME says you CAN NOT return to your previous job, that would mean you are a QIW. WHY is your ER looking for a job for you that fits your restrictions? It MUST be a completely different job than you were doing before. At the very least, not contain ANY job duties that were in your previous job...
    Thank you for your reply BvIA it was very helpful.
    I had to return to work on May 31st cause i received a letter from my HR saying that if i didnt show up on that date i'd be terminated. So i had to go see my treating physician and he put me on restrictions 4 hours a day, im still doing the same job. And they told me i can only continue part time for 30 days, hopefully by then i'll know if i will be offered another job or VR. I work for one of the big phone companies i've been an operator for 9 years, they have well over 50 employees. I have a feeling they'll have me climbing phone polls installing phone lines

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    2,165

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    SG1752, if you are unable to perform your usual work due to your work restrictions, the Employer MUST engage in the "interactive process" and try and find you another job that you can perform with "reasonable accomodation" per FEHA/ADA Laws. Although technically, your ER should be initiating this process, case law is a little "murky", so just to CYA, YOU must be the one to tell your ER that YOU want to intitiate the interactive process.

    Do you have an attorney? Some WC attorneys do not specialize in the area of FEHA/ADA law, so it might be worthwile to get a few consultations.

    In the meanwhile, DOCUMENT everything that your ER is saying/doing to you(date/time/witnesses) , and if they are NOT complying with your CURRENT work-restrictions, IMMEDIATELY inform your Doctor and get it DOCUMENTED in your medical records, and then get an attorney ASAP.

    Have you considered using FMLA? Even if you are working part-time, you can still go out on FMLA, which protects you from termination. If your Doctor determines that you should NOT be working full-time, or your ER is being 'uncooperative" with your work restrictions, then you might wish to consider this, and of course, get an attorney.
    Last edited by Charles Stevens; 06-21-2007 at 11:35 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,011

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    "The AME doctor reports that you cannot return to your regular job duties"...
    "So i had to go see my treating physician and he put me on restrictions 4 hours a day, im still doing the same job."

    There is something 'wrong' with this picture...at the very least your PTP and the AME are not communicating. You can not claim PD/PPD and continue to perform the same job duties that you claim are the source/cause of your work related injury. IF you continue to perform the same job, you risk the ER/IC claiming that you are not as "disabled" as you/PTP/AME have indicated, which could result in your being re evaluated for a reduction in your PD rating, which would mean a reduction in your potential award...amounting to less $$$. You should NOT be doing your previous duties per the AME report, regardless of the accomodations. You should be doing a different job per the restrictions. Doing the same job, but for a shorter time period is not an "accomodation" that supports your PD/PPD. You need to discuss with your PTP/AME exactly what your restrictions are, if any. But a "4 hour per day RTW", in itself is not a "restriction" per the AME report, particularly when the AME says you cannot return to your normal/previous job duties.

    "I had to return to work on May 31st cause i received a letter from my HR saying that if i didnt show up on that date i'd be terminated."
    The ER cannot do this...certainly without completing the "interactive process" of bringing you in, in person, to discuss a position that fits your restrictions. There must be a job offer within 60 days to satisfy the requirement of a successful RTW...meaning that the ER either has a position for you, or they don't. If there is no job for you, that would be the qualifier for your SJDV/VR benefits. This would also determine your 15% plus/minus in the PD benefits.

    It's great that you are able to return to work, and that there is a job for you to return to... but I think I'd be discussing with my attorney the issues involved here, namely your AME report saying you cannot return to the job you had, and your PTP doing just the opposit.
    Your AME has issued a "Legal" report/statement that precludes you from performing your previous job, and your ER is allowing you to do just that..opening themselves to additional liability and you to additional/reinjury.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Vocational Rehab

    Hi gang,
    I had to jump in on this one because I am going through a similar situation. My DOI is 2002, lower back injury, 4 surgeries, permanent nerve damage, chronic pain and numbness. According to the AME's report from Feb. I am a QIW, cannot return to my prior job and my PD rating will be at least 65%. Workers Comp sent me a letter in May stating I qualified for VR along with another letter stating my employer has offered me a Modified job. Funny enough, it's the same type of desk job I had before. I sent the form back to the IC stating I can't physically do that type of work. My Atty said I can no longer get VR because my prior employer offered me a job. Does that make any sense?!
    Thanks.

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