What's New for Vocational Counselors

The latest news

Vocational Profile Performance Report Suspended for February 2016

January 27, 2016

Data for the vocational performance report will not be updated February 1, 2016. This means during February all published vocational performance scores will continue to reflect the same scores currently published in the January 1 report. On March 1, performance data will be updated and will include all of January and February data.

Why we are doing this

We are fully committed to ensuring the Vocational Profile accurately reflects VRC performance. Recent CAC issues have made it difficult for VRCs to submit electronic progress reports (PRs). This has created challenges such as:

  • The need to fax some PRs to ensure timeliness
  • PR links not going away after being used
  • Links asking for PRs on closed referrals

Issues such as these could affect the accuracy of reports. To give credit for timely PRs and ensure the system is counting PRs correctly, we need to perform a manual validation and possibly adjust individual data elements before updating the report in March.

If you encounter PR issues, misfiled PRs, or if you have any questions, please contact Janice Orcutt at 360-902-4854 or Janice.Orcutt@Lni.wa.gov.

Status of L&Is publications with updated Option 2 information

January 22, 2016

The following publications are updated with current Option 2 information:

*Note: To eliminate an unnecessary step, we removed the workers signature page from Plan Development: What Are My Rights and Responsibilities?

  • Carrying Out Your Vocational Plan: Your Rights and Responsibilities during Plan Implementation

The publication Option 2: What You Need to Know (F280-036-000) is with our design services. We will let you know when the updated version is available online.

Updated Job Analysis form

January 22, 2016

IARPs standard Job Analysis (F252-072-000) was recently updated on our Forms / Publications webpage. You can access the current version here.

New travel mileage rate effective January 1, 2016

December 30, 2015

On January 1, 2016, the personal vehicle mileage rate decreases to $.54 per mile. This means that $.54 per mile will be paid for travel starting on or after January 1, 2016. The previous rate was $.58 per mile.

Join our Audit Team!

December 24, 2015

These are exciting times at PSRS. Were working with our VRC partners to design a world class vocational audit program. Become a part of an amazing team who support L&Is cutting-edge Return to Work Partnerships (RTW) program that helps injured workers heal and return to work, makes it easy to do business with L&I and helps honest providers by cracking down on dishonest ones.

Interested? Click HERE to view the full job announcement and to apply!

Weve changed the New Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment Template

December 22, 2015

The new Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment template is located on the Ability-to-Work Assessment webpage. We heard what you had to say and we made the following updates

  • Minor formatting changes.
  • You can now edit your font, utilize bold or italics, and bullet if needed.
  • Clarified the WorkSource visit date:
    • Input the date the WorkSource visit occurred, or
    • Input the reason why this was unable to be completed.
  • Clarified Job Search Tools Used:
    • Input the tools used, or
    • Input the reasoning why this was unable to be completed.

The new Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment template is required for all State Fund cases.

Second residence reminders.

November 20, 2015

VRCs sometimes need to request a second residence when submitting a retraining plan. Reimbursement rates are based on the current per diem rate for the county or state in which the training site is located. You can look up per diem rates here.

  • For retraining up to 45 days, the department or self-insured employer pays up to the allowed per diem rate.
  • For retraining longer than 45 calendar days, the department or self-insured employer may pay actual expenses up to one third of the per diem rate.

For questions specific to second residence circumstances, please contact the unit VSS.

Accessing Student Records

November 2, 2015

VRCs report that they sometimes have difficulty accessing school records for their client who is attending (or has attended) school. Awareness of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) may help address these issues. FERPA is a federal law that was enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA. Many schools require (and may even provide) a student consent to release information form that is FERPA compliant. An example of a FERPA consent form can be found here (176 KB PDF). There is no standard FERPA consent form.

Private career schools reminder.

September 2, 2015

Labor and Industries is required by statute (RCW 51.32.099) to use only training providers (schools) that are licensed, accredited, or exempt from licensure and approved by L&I, for worker retraining.

The majority of private career schools in Washington State are regulated by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTECB). Private career schools licensed by WTECB are required to renew their private vocational school licenses on an annual basis and ensure that all program and course offerings are current and up-to-date. VRCs can check the WTECB web site to determine if a private school is licensed.

To help ensure that workers are attending approved programs from approved schools, when you submit an in-state retraining plan with a licensed private school you must include a copy of the section of the schools WTECB-approved course catalog that pertains to the proposed program. The program identified in the plan must match the program in the approved catalog.

Please note that if a schools program is on the "Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL), also administered by the Workforce Board, then that school may be used, provided the plan matches the program(s) listed on the ETPL web site.

If you have questions please consult with your VSS.

Important reminders about interpretation and translation services

August 19, 2015

When an injured worker is receiving vocational services it is the responsibility of the healthcare or vocational provider to determine whether effective communication is occurring and to select an interpreter if one is needed. This is true even if the worker is represented.


If a VRC conducts an intake meeting with the injured worker at the workers attorneys office, the VRC should not expect that the attorney will provide an interpreter for oral communication. The VRC needs to ensure that an interpreter is available if one is needed.

Oral vs written communication

L&I pays for oral interpretive services during a vocational referral if they are needed and if the interpreter is qualified per L&I policy. Please note that interpretation services convey oral communications only, while translation services are in written format. Written translation services are not provided to workers that are represented by an attorney.

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