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What To Know About Return To Work Supplement Program

Last updated: November 18, 2023

Workplace injuries and occupational illnesses can cause severe financial trouble for any business and can also cause emotional and physical distress for the employer and the employee. 

In 2020, the total cost of workplace injuries was at least $163.9 billion. This value includes productivity and wage losses amounting to $44.8 billion, medical costs worth $34.9 billion, and $61.0 billion in administrative expenses. 

Fortunately, 80-90% of injured workers can return to their pre-injury positions and perform their duties. The return-to-work (RTW) program is designed to help them re-enter the workforce and adjust to their new situation. 

Learn more about the return to work supplement program and its eligibility requirements by reading the article below.

Understanding The RSWP

The U.S. government established the $120 million Return To Work Supplement Program in 2015 to help compensate injured employees. This program is made available to qualified workers whose permanent disability benefits are disproportionately low compared to their financial losses from work-related accidents or occupational illnesses.

However, not all injured employees are eligible to receive RSWP payment. If an injured worker meets all the eligibility requirements, they are entitled to receive $5,000 compensation under the Return To Work Supplement Program.

Program Eligibility 

To be eligible for the Return to Work Supplement Program, you must have sustained your work-related injury on or after January 1, 2013. Additionally, you must have received a Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher

A further requirement is that you must apply by the deadline for the program. Generally, the deadline for applying for the Return to Work Supplement Program is one year from the mailing of your Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher.

To qualify for the Return to Work Supplement Program, you must meet the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) requirements. These include the following:

  • The injury must have occurred on or after January 1, 2013.
  • A Supplemental Job Displacement (SJDB) voucher must have been issued to the applicant.
  • Make sure to submit your application before the deadline. RTWSP must receive your application within 12 months of receiving the SJDB voucher. 

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher

Injured employees who sustained a permanent disability, cannot perform their regular duties and have not been offered any alternative, modified, or regular work by their current employer may apply for a supplemental job displacement voucher (SJDBV) and other workers' compensation benefits.

Individuals who qualify for the SJDBV may use the $6,000 non-transferable voucher to pay for skill development or educational retraining at a state-approved or accredited educational institution. This means that the voucher can pay for all expenses you may incur while trying to learn a new skill and land a new job, which includes the following:

  • Tuition fees and miscellaneous fees;
  • Books, learning materials, and other necessary equipment for training classes
  • Computer hardware of up to $1,000
  • Personal certification and occupational licensing expenses
  • Qualification services of up to $600
  • Consulting services with a licensed placement agency worth $600

What Do I Do If My Request Is Denied?

Not all workers' comp claims are approved upon the first review. In situations where the claims administrator denies your Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit Voucher request, you may dispute this decision. 

To do so, you are required to immediately submit a Request For Dispute Resolution form to the DWC. The DWC will review your dispute and issue a decision soon after. 

Going through a claims dispute is extremely challenging and demanding, especially when unaware of the different workers' comp laws. Hence, hiring an experienced workers' comp lawyer to handle your claims appeal is best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding the Return To Work Supplement Program. 

1. What is supplemental benefit payment?

Supplemental benefits are payments provided by employers to their employees to cover the difference between the benefit amount given by Paid Family and Medical Leave and their regular income. This may include paid time off (PTO) or salary continuation.

2. Is MMI the same as permanent & stationary?

The term "permanent and stationary" (P&S) refers to a medical condition that is neither getting better nor worsening. This is when your medical condition has achieved its maximum medical improvement (MMI).

3. What does paying a supplement mean?

In addition to their usual base wage, employees may also receive supplemental pay. It is frequently referred to as supplemental wages and includes sick leave pay, incentive pay, overtime pay, and bonuses.

Qualified workers can apply for several workers' comp benefits, including the Return To Work Supplement Program. This program provides services and financial assistance to help injured employees recover, acquire new skills, and successfully re-enter the workforce. 

If you want to learn more about workers' comp regulations, visit this article by Disability Help on the workers' compensation 90-day rule.

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