(1)“Cost-of-living matrix” is a chart issued annually by the division in Bulletin 124 that publishes the conversion factors, effective July 1 of each year, used to adjust for changes in the cost-of-living rate from the date of injury to the date of calculation. The conversion factor is based on the annual percentage increase or decrease in the average weekly wage, as defined in ORS 656.211 (“Average weekly wage” defined).
(2)“Counselor” means the vocational assistance counselor certified under these rules to provide vocational assistance to injured workers and activities for determining a worker’s eligibility for vocational assistance.
(3)“Director” means the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, or the director’s delegate for the matter.
(4)“Division” refers to the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services.
(5)“Employer at injury” means the organization that employed the worker when the worker sustained the injury or occupational disease.
(6)“Insurer” means the insurance company or self-insured employer responsible for the workers’ compensation claim.
(7)“Provider” means the vocational assistance provider that is an insurer or other public or private organization registered under these rules to provide vocational assistance to injured workers and activities for determining a worker’s eligibility for vocational assistance.
(8)“Reasonable cause” may include, but is not limited to, a medically documented limitation in a worker’s activities due to illness or medical condition of the worker or the worker’s family, financial hardship, incarceration for less than six months, or circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the worker. “Reasonable cause” for failure to provide information or participate in activities related to vocational assistance will be determined based upon individual circumstances of the case.
(9)“Reasonable labor market” for an occupation means it can be said to have reasonable employment opportunities if competitively qualified workers can expect to find equivalent jobs in the occupation within a reasonable period of time. A reasonable period of time, for workers in the majority of occupations, would be the six months that they could collect regular unemployment insurance benefits, if they were entitled to them.
(10)“Regular employment” means the employment the worker held at the time of the injury or at the time of the claim for aggravation, whichever gave rise to the potential eligibility for vocational assistance; or, for a worker not employed at the time of aggravation, the employment the worker held on the last day of work before the aggravation claim. If the basis for potential eligibility is a reopening to process a newly accepted condition, “regular employment” is the employment the worker held at the time of the injury. When the condition arose after claim closure, “regular employment” is determined as if it were an aggravation claim.
(11)“Substantial handicap to employment” means the worker, because of the injury or aggravation, lacks the necessary physical capacities, knowledge, skills, and abilities to be employed in suitable employment.
(a)“Knowledge” means an organized body of factual or procedural information derived from the worker’s education, training, and experience.
(b)“Skills” means the demonstrated mental and physical proficiency to apply knowledge.
(c)“Abilities” means the cognitive, psychological, and physical capability to apply the worker’s knowledge and skills.
(12)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)“Suitable employment” or “suitable job” means employment or a job:
(A)For which the worker has the necessary physical capacities, knowledge, skills, and abilities;
(B)Located where the worker customarily worked, or within reasonable commuting distance of the worker’s residence. A reasonable commuting distance is no more than 50 miles one-way modified by other factors including, but not limited to:
(i)Wage of the job;
(ii)The pre-injury commute;
(iii)The worker’s physical capacities, if they restrict the worker’s ability to sit or drive for 50 miles;
(iv)Commuting practices of other workers who live in the same geographic area; and
(v)The distance from the worker’s residence to the nearest cities or towns that offer employment opportunities;
(C)That pays a suitable wage or would average on a year-round basis a suitable wage;
(D)That is permanent. Temporary work is suitable if the worker’s job at injury was temporary and the worker has transferable skills to earn, on a year-round basis, a suitable wage; and
(E)For which a reasonable labor market as described under OAR 436-120-0157 (Determining Substantial Handicap to Employment) is documented to exist.
(b)“Suitable employment” or “suitable job” may also be modified or new employment resulting from an employer at injury activated use of the Preferred Worker Program under OAR 436-110, as described in OAR 436-120-0165 (End of Eligibility for Vocational Assistance)(1)(c).
(13)“Suitable wage” means:
(a)For the purpose of determining eligibility for vocational assistance, a wage at least 80 percent of the adjusted weekly wage.
(b)For the purpose of providing or ending vocational assistance, a wage as close as possible to 100 percent of the adjusted weekly wage. This wage may be considered suitable if less than 80 percent of the adjusted weekly wage, if the wage is as close as possible to the adjusted weekly wage.
(14)“Training” means a vocational rehabilitation service provided to a worker who is enrolled and actively engaged in an approved training plan as documented on Form 1081, “Training Plan.”
(15)“Transferable skills” means the knowledge and skills demonstrated in past training or employment that make a worker employable in suitable new employment. More general characteristics such as aptitudes or interests do not, by themselves, constitute transferable skills.
(16)“Vocational assistance” means any of the services, goods, allowances, and temporary disability compensation under these rules to assist an eligible worker return to work. This does not include activities for determining a worker’s eligibility for vocational assistance.
Rule 436-120-0005 — Definitions,