Assembly Bill 128 is now law and that means that injured workers in Nevada have greater access to vocational rehabilitation services and job placement assistance. When employees suffer serious injuries, this coverage helps them land on their feet when they are no longer able to perform the duties of their position. By amending and improving the coverage available to these individuals and other first responders, the Nevada legislature is making significant progress protecting those who put their lives on the line to protect the public.
Changes to Existing Law
Current law requires that a vocational rehabilitation counselor establish a plan for job placement assistance and effective rehabilitative training for law enforcement officers and other workers. This is supposed to cover a duration of six months. It also prohibits appeal of the insurer’s decision to authorize or deny programs. AB 128 extends this time period, and eliminates the current prohibition on appeals. This will give greater control to the individual and their counselor, and allow the individual to pursue more comprehensive educational opportunities.
Further, current law requires that any payments made in a lump sum instead of applied to vocational rehabilitation programs must be paid at not less than 40% of the funds due to the injured individual. Under the new law, this percentage is raised to 55%. Thus, individuals who chose to forego vocational rehabilitation services can receive a considerable boost in their payment. This money can then be used by the individual as they desire, including for payments made to the educational training program of their choice.
The Importance of the Safety Net
Police officers, first responders, and other workers face danger on a daily basis while performing vital functions in our communities. Motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, heart disease, gunshots, puncture wounds, and other serious injuries can prevent them from performing their duties. Establishing strong mechanisms that allow these individuals to pursue new skills and knowledge helps them recover from these injuries and prosper in new careers, whether they are related to law enforcement or in an entirely different career field. Each year, dozens of police officers in Nevada suffer potentially career-ending injuries; laws such as AB 128 and others give these individuals the support they need to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and find new ways to serve the public. In fact, many choose to continue working in law enforcement, with at risk youth, or in other public service positions.