Return to Work

Return to Work

Return to Work Vouchers

…in Workers Compensation

Q. How do I qualify for SJDB?

A. If you were injured on or after Jan. 1, 2004, and are permanently unable to do your usual job, and your employer does not offer other work, you may qualify for SJDB. This benefit is in the form of a voucher that helps pay for educational retraining or skill enhancement — or both — at state-approved or state-accredited schools.

For date of injury on or after Jan. 1, 2004 and prior to Jan. 1, 2013, employees who do not return to work for their employer within 20 calendar days from the expiration of time for making an offer of regular, modified, or alternative work will receive a voucher. The amount of the voucher is based on the percentage of disability:

  • 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

Up to 10 percent of the voucher funds may be used for vocational or return-to-work counseling.

The law also says that an employer will not be liable for providing the SJDB to an employee if, within 30 days of the end of TD payments, an offer of modified or alternative work is made, and the employee rejects or fails to accept the offer in the form and manner prescribed by the DWC administrative director.

For injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the voucher amount is $6,000.00 regardless of the PD rating. The voucher will be due within 20 calendar days from the expiration of time for making an offer of regular, modified, or alternative work. The job must pay no less than 85% of the employee’s earnings at the time of injury and must be expected to last at least 12 months.

Q. When will I receive the SJDB voucher?

A. For injuries occurring between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2012, if you are eligible for the voucher and you haven’t settled your eligibility (as part of an overall settlement in your case) you will receive the voucher from the claims administrator within 25 calendar days from the date your disability award is issued by the workers’ compensation judge at the local Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board district office. For injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the voucher is due 60 days after a treating doctor, AME or QME declares the injured worker permanent and stationary, and issues a report outlining the worker’s work capacities, if the employer does not offer the worker a job.

Q: When can I expect to receive the payments specified in the voucher?

A. The claims administrator must issue reimbursement payments to you or direct payments to the VRTWC and training provider within 45 calendar days from receipt of the completed voucher, receipts and documentation.

Q. I disagree with my treating doctor’s opinion about the work I can handle. What can I do?

A. Different doctors may have different opinions about a worker’s ability to do tasks safely. You have a right to question or disagree with a report written by your treating doctor. To dispute the doctor’s report about your ability to work:

  • If you do not have an attorney, you must send a letter to the claims administrator stating that you disagree with the report. You must send the letter within 30 days of receiving the report
  • If you have an attorney, contact your attorney right away. The deadline for stating your disagreement is 20 days
  • Next, you can get a medical evaluation from another doctor. For information about medical evaluations, call the DWC Medical Unit at 1-800-794-6900.

For help in getting a medical evaluation, contact a DWC I&A officer.

FAQ