CEDILLO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO ASSIST INJURED WORKERS
Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) has introduced SB 3, which would assist injured workers by improving access to the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit (SJDB). The bill, which is sponsored by Voters Injured at Work (VIAW), an organization dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of injured workers in California, will provide much needed assistance to employees who are injured on the job.
Injured workers in California are far more likely to be out of work after their injuries. According to the California Commission on Health and Safety on Worker's Compensation (CHSWC), California has the highest percent of permanent partial disability (PPD) claimants out of work three years after their injury.
Currently, workers who sustain injuries on the job that result in a permanent disability are eligible for the SJDB, which comes in the form of an educational voucher meant to assist in reintegrating injured workers into the workforce. Unfortunately, a worker may not receive the voucher until his or her permanent disability rating has been officially determined, which can be years after the termination of TD benefits. During this lengthy process, which involves the determination and/or dispute over the percentage of permanent disability, the worker remains ineligible to receive the voucher, which undermines the intended purpose of the voucher and contributes to California having one of the worst return-to-work (RTW) rates in the nation.
SB 3 would address this problem by making the voucher a flat amount of six thousand dollars ($6,000) and changing the date that an injured worker is eligible to receive the voucher to when the physician has determined that the disability has become permanent and stationary.
"Improving the timing of the benefits for injured workers would help improve return to work outcomes for permanently disabled workers," stated Cedillo. "Allowing these workers to receive the education and training they need to return to reintegrate into the workforce will benefit both employers and employees."