Today's Law As Amended

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AB-553 Workers’ compensation: return-to-work program.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.

 Section 139.48 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

139.48.
 (a) There is in the department a return-to-work program administered by the director, funded by one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) annually derived from non-General Funds of the Workers’ Compensation Administration Revolving Fund, for the purpose of making supplemental payments to workers whose permanent disability benefits are disproportionately low in comparison to their earnings loss. Moneys shall remain available for use by the return-to-work program without respect to the fiscal year.
(b) Eligibility for payments and the amount of payments shall be determined by regulations adopted by the director, based on findings from studies conducted by the director in consultation with the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation. Determinations of the director shall be subject to review at the trial level of the appeals board upon the same grounds as prescribed for petitions for reconsideration.
(c) A worker who is eligible to receive a supplemental job displacement benefit pursuant to Section 4658.7 is eligible to receive the payment established by this section. Notwithstanding this subdivision, the director may establish additional bases of eligibility pursuant to subdivision (b).
(d) (1) The director shall have the program distribute the one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) annually to eligible workers pursuant to subdivision (f).
(e) The employer shall notify the director and the worker, in the manner adopted by the director, of the worker’s eligibility for the payment established by this section. The notice required by this subdivision shall be sent when the supplemental job displacement benefit described in subdivision (c) is issued.
(c) (f)  This section shall apply only to injuries sustained on or after January 1, 2013. Commencing January 1, 2020, the director shall distribute, by April 1 of each year, the one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) to eligible workers on the basis of equal shares for each eligible worker. 
(g) A person, including an attorney, may not collect a fee or commission for providing assistance to a worker to apply for payments provided pursuant to this section.