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.

VTSG meeting announcements and agenda highlights

December 9, 2015

On November 16, 2015, the Vocational Technical Stakeholders Group (VTSG) met in Tukwila. View the meeting announcements and agenda highlights (205 KB PDF).

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.

Access to L&I Systems.

November 10, 2015

On November 3, L&I put in place changes to security measures for external parties who access our systems. These changes are very similar to security used by other external entities such as banks that individuals do business with. When implemented, which is happening in phases, the user will be asked to provide an additional phone number or email address, then select and answer three secret questions. After the users security profile is updated, theyll be asked to enter a secret code at future logins if they do not choose to have the computer they are using remembered. This code will be provided via phone or email.

The New Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment Template is Ready

November 9, 2015

The new Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment template is located on the Ability-to-Work Assessment webpage. The template is designed to increase compliance with the Washington Administrative Code by making it easier for:

  • VRCs to submit the required information and
  • L&I Claim Managers (CMs) to find the information they need.

This template is to be used on all non-eligible closures.

The Department worked with volunteers from private sector, the Vocational Technical Stakeholders Group (VTSG), and VSS staff to design and pilot the new report.

The New Ability to Work Non-Eligible Assessment template is required for all State Fund cases and will be effective 30 days from todays date.

If you have questions, contact your assigned 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.

Claims Support Unit Voicemail System Updated

October 29, 2015

The Claims Support Unit voicemail system was updated on Tuesday, October 20th. A User Quick Reference Guide (85KB PDF) has been created to make it easier and quicker for you to navigate through the new menu.

If you have questions, please feel free to email Sue Callaghan at Sue.Callaghan@Lni.wa.gov.

Early Ability to Work Assessment.

October 19, 2015

The Department is actively implementing a number of initiatives in an effort to help injured workers heal and return to work. One of these initiatives is related to the time at which the Department makes a referral for private sector return to work services. By the end of December 2015, all claim units will be making referrals for Ability to Work Assessments between 60 and 70 days of time-loss paid. Our analysis shows this timely approach reduces long term disability and has resulted in better outcomes for employers and injured workers. You may also continue to receive older referrals as you have seen in the past. Please submit any questions to Ryan Guppy at ryan.guppy@lni.wa.gov

Frequently asked questions about vocational counseling and job placement services in Option 2.

October 9, 2015


  • Are there going to be any reporting requirements by the person providing vocational counseling and job placement services?
  • Can these services be provided by any VRC with an active provider number?
  • When will the codes be available for billing and what are the codes?


More information will be provided as we work with the business and labor advisory group and VRC representatives to develop rules and processes specific to Option 2 vocational counseling and job placement services.

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.

Clarification on date fields in AWA progress reports

August 26, 2015

If the Vocational Counselor determines it is appropriate to send the Job Analyses to another provider (SIMP, IME, FCE, or Work Hardening provider, etc.) BEFORE they send it to the Attending Physician, please capture the date the JAs are send to that provider in the Date JA to Attending Provider field on the AWA progress report.

Similarly, please capture the date that provider responds to the JAs in the Date of Attending Provider Review of JA field.

This allows the VRC to use their judgement on who needs to comment on the JA at that point in the claim and the Claim Manager can see that that the referral is progressing as expected.

We plan to change the language on the AWA Progress Report to read Date JA Sent to Appropriate Provider and Date of Provider Review of JA in the near future.

Thank you very much for all of your efforts to reduce delays in our system.

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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