What is the supplemental job displacement benefits program?

There are many factors that workers who are injured on the job have to consider if they are trying to obtain benefits from workers' compensation. While you might think of this program as one that pays medical bills and provides temporary disability, there are other facets of the program that can benefit injured workers.

One of the program's offering that might help some individuals is the supplemental job displacement benefits (SJDB). This program is meant to help workers train for a new career if they are unable to go back to their original positions. It comes with some specific requirements and guidelines.

What types of expenses can be covered?

The SJDB benefits are provided in a voucher form. It is not transferable, but it can be used to pay for education, training and other fees that can help the person to learn how to do a new job. The exact items this can cover depend on when the injuries occurred. There are two sets of benefits for this program. One is for Jan. 1, 2004 through Dec. 31, 2012. The other is any injury that occurs on or after Jan. 1, 2013.

For the earlier injuries, it can cover skill enhancement or education at a state-accredited or state-approved school. The severity of the disability determines the monetary amount of the voucher. It will be anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000. It can pay for fees, books, tuition and other required expenses. Up to 10 percent of the voucher can be used to return to work or for vocational counseling.

For injuries in the more recent category, the voucher amount is $6,000 in all cases. Up to $600 of that can be used for vocational counseling or counseling to return to work. Some of the funds can also be used to pay for testing, licensing and certification fees or to get tools that the training course requires. This program also reimburses a person up to $500 in miscellaneous expenses and up to $1,000 can be used to buy computer equipment. Education or training must take place at a training provider approved by the state or at a California public school.

Who can receive the benefit?

In order to receive the benefit, you have to be permanently disabled. Additionally, your employer can't have any alternative jobs to offer that you would be able to do. If you are offered a job that you could reasonably do and you decline, you won't qualify for the SJDB. It is imperative for injured workers to understand this program if they are going to need it.

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