Changes to Oregon Employer-at-Injury Program effective as of January 1, 2017

Anderson, Kevin_webOAR 436-105 explains who qualifies for and how to request assistance and reimbursement from the Employer-at-Injury Program (EAIP). The EAIP encourages early return to work by providing incentives to employers from the Workers’ Benefit Fund. Several changes were made to the EAIP administrative rules and vocational assistance rules. The following are some of the key changes to the EAIP.

  • OAR 436-105-0003(3): Clarifies documents can be submitted to the WCD via the US Postal Service, physical delivery to the Salem WCD office, fax, or any other method approved by the WCD (the WCD is working on developing an online portal system similar to the WCB’s portal).
  • OAR 436-105-0006: Specifies money from the Workers’ Benefit Fund cannot be used to provide benefits concurrently with the Preferred Worker Program (OAR 436-110). EAIP benefits will end when PWP benefits begin.
  • OAR 436-105-0500(3): A Notice of Assistance Availability must now specify “The Employer-at-Injury Program (not: The Reemployment Assistance Program) provides Oregon’s qualified injured workers help with staying on the job or getting back to work. Because of your injury, your employer may be eligible for assistance to return you to transitional work through this program while your claim is open. Your employer may contact [insurer name and phone number.”
  • OAR 436-105-0500(4): When identifying a transitional work positions, the employer must now: (1) confirm the position is within the worker’s injury-caused limitations (2) confirm the position is within the course and scope of the employer’s trade/profession, and (3) have the worker agree in writing to take a class or course of instruction if the transitional work is skills building.
  • OAR 436-105-0500(5): Requires a medical release specify the worker’s hourly restrictions if the release is for part-time work or fewer hours than the worker normally worked before the injury.
  • OAR 436-105-0500(6): All documentation for the EAIP must be prepared before reimbursement is requested. The documentation requires the worker’s claim file, work releases showing the worker is not released to regular work, documentation of the starting date, wage, hours, and description of transitional job, payroll records (including date of payment, dates of work covered by payment, rate of pay, gross wages, pay frequency, hours of overtime worked, and overtime pay rate).
  • OAR 436-105-0520(1) Clarifies that the EAIP may be used only once per worker per claim opening or request for reopening.
  • OAR 436-105-0520(1): Confirms the EAIP assistance includes wage subsidies, work site modifications, and purchases. Any modifications must be ordered before the end of the EAIP.
  • OAR 436-105-0540(3): Confirms the first reimbursement request must be for at least $100, but subsequent requests can be for lesser amounts.
  • OAR 436-105-0520(5): Expressly excludes reimbursement for extended warranties for work-site modifications and purchases that are in addition to the standard or manufacturer’s warranty.
  • OAR 436-105-0540(7): Allows for amended reimbursement requests provided the request is submitted within one year and 30 days from the end of the EAIP eligibility.
  • OAR 436-105-0550(1): If the director finds that procedures that led to disallowed reimbursements are still being used, the director may withhold further reimbursements until corrections satisfactory to the director are made, consistent with language in OAR 436-110.
  • OAR 436-105-0550(1): If there is conflicting documentation regarding eligibility for reimbursement for the EAIP services, the director will use a preponderance-of-evidence standard to make its decision, and if there is no clear preponderance, reimbursement will be denied.

This is not an exhaustive list of every change to the EAIP rules and we will be providing updates on changes to the PWP and Vocational Assistance rules soon. If you have any questions regarding changes to the EAIP please contact me at kanderson@sbhlegal.com.