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Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:34 am
by mta2
Does an injured worker have to be enrolled in a school to request reimbursement or payment for a computer? I have an injured worker who has provided a cost breakdown for the computer she will be purchasing for a class that she plans on taking. On page 5 of the Voucher she can check off "A written invoice is attached". This is the first time I have actually had an injured worker request money for the purchase of a computer. Thank you.

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:31 am
by mta2
I assume that no-one has the answer to this question?

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:42 am
by vampireinthenight
I would think the computer must be part of an approved program, but I have not litigated this issue, so cannot cite anything. I would start with the regulations and see what they say. What is the closest you have found?

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California) (California)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:20 am
by Barney5
It states part of the voucher can be used for a computer and I do not see anywhere in the rules that states they must be enrolled in a class first to obtain the computer. I have not read any stipulations that they have to be enrolled in anything or do anything to obtain the computer. Also, they can request an additional $500. that does not have to be accounted for separate from the computer, and there is nothing I have read that states they must be enrolled in a class first for that either. This voucher system was to help people and not to have them run through more hoops to receive these benefits.

If the injured worker does not have a computer it may be difficult to research colleges and sign up for college in the first place as most everything is online these days even registration. I guess they could go to a library, but why should they have to since we have this program in place to help injured workers and not make it more difficult to start college. For those who are low income and do not have a computer or even a car, obtaining a computer can be life changing.

If someone finds rules that state otherwise please post.

I want to post some additional information for claims adjusters who are interested in encouraging injured workers to attending college, but that have injuries that may need accommodation. All colleges have disabled student services department, and for those who may need accommodation due to their injury I encourage them to meet with a disabled student counselor and sign up for this. They can provide them with things like special equipment, voice activated computers, online classes, extra time for testing, note takers etc. They may also receive priority registration. I have seen students who are paralyzed from the neck down attend college full time. If there is a will there is a way.

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:30 am
by vampireinthenight
That's good info to remember, but I think transport is the main concern for college. It looks like that can be a claimed expense under the voucher, but it is cumbersome and the significantly disabled IW would need a lot of it.

Maybe I screwed it up, but when I put in the link from Regulation 10133.58, I did NOT get the list of eligible providers.

Interesting that the employer retains the option to provide the computer directly to the IW. I wonder what that is all about?

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:37 pm
by Barney5
Vampireinthenight I have not read anything about the claims adjuster having an option to providing to provide the computer. Do you mean they can say no to a computer or they have the option to purchase the computer for the injured worker instead of allowing the injured worker to pay for it and then ask for reimbursement?

There is a list of colleges but the vouchers can be used at any California state or city college. The problem some injured workers are having is these colleges are not accepting the vouchers, and in this case they are supposed to submit receipts to the adjuster for reimbursement. For injured workers who do not have the money to front the cost of the classes I can see this being a problem. I hope if the injured worker is in this situation there is a way for claims adjuster to pay for the classes, books etc.

I can see transport being an issue for those who have serious injuries. Most colleges offer online classes, but it can be difficult to do some classes online. There are benefits to going to class, especially for someone who is isolated after an injury. I know once on a campus a college will provide a helper for student if they need assistance to class and also in class, to take notes etc. I was not aware transportation to and from college was an issue, but glad you mentioned voucher may cover it. I wonder if there are organizations that will also provide transportation help.

The student should also apply for financial aid no matter if they receive a voucher or not (JMO). There are also a lot of grants out there too.

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:17 am
by vampireinthenight
I think I misread it a little. Reg 10133.31(f)(5) allows the employer to giver the option of purchase of computer from the employer. It sounds like both parties must consent, however.

I still don't know who thought this provision was necessary. ?

$1000 will buy a pretty sweet laptop these days. My wife just got one for under $600 and it works great.

Re: Payment/reimbursement for Computer (California)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:18 pm
by Barney5
Vampireinthe night, Thank you for your response. They are always helpful and I appreciate them.

I think they may have put the computer in as it is needed to attend college and if vouchers only covered classes and books those who could not afford a computer may not be able to attend college due to it, and the extra money can cover things like printer etc.

To answer your question the computer monies can be used for computer equipment too so printer ink etc I would assume would fall under computer equipment and you do not have to be enrolled in a college to receive the computer monies. There is also a $500. portion on tope of the computer monies that the injured worker can use on anything, and does not have to submit anything to receive it or tell the adjuster what it was used for (this was my interpretation of the rule). So out of the $6,00 first voucher I think $1,500 )or $1,200. I do not recall) for computer and equipment and additional $500. not needing accountability for leaves $4,000. for college and supplies. Then the injured worker can also apply for the additional $5,000. voucher that is basically a check and can be used for anything and does not need to be submitted with what it was used for.

I wish they did not place a two year limit on using the $600. voucher. There are circumstances that it may be difficult to attend college full time. What about students who have learning disabilities or struggle with school and/or their injury makes attending full time too difficult due to things like medication use, pain issues and depression to name a few? I can see why voucher monies may not be used completely in these type of situations,and in turn the injured worker may not complete their degree due to voucher expiration dates.

Some people do not finish a two year degree in two years. Some of these colleges are crowded and it can take longer than two years to get a degree just because the student cannot get into the classes needed as they get full. Although, if the injured worker needs accommodation many colleges give those students who are registered under disabled student services department at their college priority registration. You can request accommodation if medications, pain, sleep issues and /or injury or illness requires accommodation. Patients in pain often time also have sleep issues and that can be a reason to request accommodation, such as extra time on test taking.

Does anyone know if there is a way around the two year limit to use the voucher for reasons I listed above? D claims adjusters have leeway on this 2 year limit?

Another question... and I know it has been asked previously but it does appear that many city colleges do not take these vouchers. The reply previously was for IW to pay for registration, books, classes etc and then send in a receipt to adjuster for reimbursement. What about the students who cannot afford to pay the cost upfront? These types of issues keep those who are most financially vulnerable from being able to participate with this voucher program.

I know they did not use all of the monies for this program the past two years and I believe what I wrote above are some of the reasons as well as these vouchers are not automatically supplied to those who are eligible. The second voucher for date of injury after 1/1/2013 in the amount of $5,000. and can be used for anything and does not need accountability, it is just like a check. It does have to be applied for either online or go to a district WCAB kiosk and can only be requested after they received the first voucher of $6,000. Why can't they just provide these vouchers to those who are eligible automatically? It could be sent with a small booklet on how to use them, what colleges they can attend and also the other rules such as a computer and/or computer equipment can be used for part of the first voucher up to $1,500. (I think that is the amount).

I do not believe this voucher system is fair as it pays the same to EVERY patient who was not allowed or able to return to their former position. So a patient with carpel tunnel gets the same amount as a patient who was paralyzed from the neck down? The paralyzed patient may need more monies for transportation and equipment. I would have likes a sliding scale based upon PD rating with some leeway for those I certain circumstances. It is not fair to give same amount to all injured workers as some can have minor injuries and find another position within a month, while other may need special training, time and equipment.

There was an article a while back about the leftover voucher monies being redistributed to those who were already given them. Has that happened or anything else as to where that unused voucher monies went to?

I wanted to reiterate what I posted on another voucher string is to make injured workers aware of the resources they have at colleges for those who need accommodation. They should have some sort of disabled student services department and do not let the word disabled stop someone who does not have a serious visibly injury to apply. Problems sleeping and concentration due to pain, lack of sleep or pain issues can have devastating effects with trying to attend college. Some examples of accommodations is extra time for tests, double time for example if pain is an issue and you need to take breaks etc. I have read about a school bringing in a lounge chair for a student who had to lay down and could not sit during class. They can provide note takers for those who have problems with hands and taking notes. They have special voice activated computer attachments for those who cannot type or use hands. These are just a sample of what they can try to do to accommodate those who may need accommodation.

I think I mentioned in a previous post about when I was taking classes online and one teacher sent out a group project in which a groups of students had to meet a few times to complete. I was so worried as I had severe pain issues during that time and just driving and sitting to attend group project would be difficult for me. I sent out a e-mail to the other 5 students in my assigned groups and one by one they all replied and we found all of us were having medical issues that made meeting difficult. It was the last student who replied that really made me reconsider how bad I thought I had it. She had some sort of disorder eh had from birth and around 95% paralyzed from neck down. She typed using an instrument in her mouth while she layed in bed. She was so excited and positive about our group project. She wrote she wanted to get a degree in psychology and focus on those who have challenges due to injury or illness and how to inspire and help then to achieve their goals. I felt ridiculous about my complaints which were small compared to hers. I retell her story to inured workers who are fearful about attending college due to their injury issues.

Sorry,I did not mean to highjack this thread but thought it may be helpful to keep these voucher questions together to help those who are researching these issues.