Or. Admin. R. 436-120-0165 - End of Eligibility for Vocational Assistance
(1) Reasons for ending eligibility. A worker's eligibility for vocational assistance ends when any of the following conditions apply:
(a) Based on new information that did not exist or that could not have been obtained with reasonable effort at the time the insurer determined eligibility, the worker no longer meets the eligibility requirements;
(b) The worker has been employed in suitable employment for at least 60 days after the date of injury or date of aggravation;
(c) The worker has been employed in suitable employment that is modified or new employment resulting from an employer-at-injury activated use of the Preferred Worker Program under OAR 436-110 and:
(A) If there are no worksite modifications, premium exemption has been effective for 12 months;
(B) If there is a worksite modification, 12 months have passed since the director determined it to be complete; or
(C) During the 12-month period in paragraph (A) or (B), the worker is terminated for cause or voluntarily resigns for a reason unrelated to the work injury;
(d) The worker, before beginning an authorized return-to-work plan, refused an offer of suitable employment. If the employer-at-injury offers employment to a worker who is not medically stationary, the offer must be made in accordance with OAR 436-060-0030;
(e) The worker, before beginning an authorized return-to-work plan, left suitable employment after the injury or aggravation for a reason unrelated to the limitations caused by the injury;
(f) The worker, before beginning an authorized return-to-work plan, refused or failed to make a reasonable effort in available light-duty work intended to result in suitable employment. Before ending eligibility, the insurer must document the existence of one or more suitable jobs that would be available for the worker after completion of the light-duty work. If the employer at injury offers such employment to a worker who is not medically stationary, the offer must be made in accordance with OAR 436-060-0030;
(g) The worker, after completing an authorized training plan, refused an offer of suitable employment;
(h) The worker declined or became unavailable for vocational assistance.
(A) The insurer must determine if the reasons are for reasonable or unreasonable cause before ending the worker's eligibility.
(B) If the reason was for incarceration, this reason must be stated in the notice to the worker.
(C) Declining vocational assistance to accept modified or new employment that results from an employer-at-injury activated use of the Preferred Worker Program, under OAR 436-110, is reasonable cause;
(i) The worker refused a suitable training site after the counselor and worker have agreed in writing upon a return-to-work goal;
(j) The worker failed after written warning to participate in the development or implementation of a return-to-work plan. No written warning is required if the worker fails to attend two consecutive training days and fails, without reasonable cause, to notify the counselor or the insurer by the close of the next business day;
(k) The worker's lack of suitable employment cannot be resolved by providing vocational assistance. This includes circumstances in which the worker cannot benefit from, or participate in, vocational assistance because of medical conditions unrelated to the injury;
(l) The worker misrepresented information relevant to providing vocational assistance;
(m) The worker refused after written warning to return property provided by the insurer or reimburse the insurer as required. No vocational assistance will be provided under subsequent openings of the claim until the worker returns the property or reimburses the funds;
(n) The worker misused funds provided for the purchase of property or services. No vocational assistance will be provided under subsequent openings of the claim until the worker reimburses the insurer for the misused funds;
(o) After written warning the worker continues to harass any participant to the vocational process. This subsection does not apply if such behavior is the result of a documented medical or mental condition;
(p) The worker entered into a claim disposition agreement and disposed of vocational rights. The parties may agree in writing to suspend vocational assistance pending approval of the agreement by the Workers' Compensation Board. The insurer must end eligibility when the Workers' Compensation Board approves the claim disposition agreement that disposes of vocational assistance rights. No notice regarding the end of eligibility is required; or
(q) The worker received maximum direct employment services and is not entitled to other categories of vocational assistance.
(2) Notice of end of eligibility. When an insurer ends a worker's eligibility for vocational assistance, the insurer must mail to the worker a Notice of End of Eligibility for Vocational Assistance within five days of the end of eligibility date. The notice must include:
(a) The date when eligibility ended. The effective date is the worker's last date of eligibility; and
(b) The reason the worker's eligibility for vocational assistance is ending. However, notice is not required if the insurer is ending the worker's eligibility because the worker has given up their vocational assistance rights through a claim disposition agreement.
(3) Report to director. When an insurer ends a worker's eligibility for vocational assistance, the insurer must submit to the division, within 30 days after the date eligibility ends, Form 2800, "Vocational Closure Report." The report must include:
(a) The effective date for the end of eligibility;
(b) The reason for the end of eligibility; and
(c) Return-to-work and provider information.
Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 656.340 & 656.726(4)
Statutes/Other Implemented: ORS 656.340
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