An attempt to increase access to vocational rehabilitation by lowering the impairment threshold has failed and is likely dead in the Montana Legislature.
SB 3 proposed lowering the impairment threshold to access vocational rehabilitation benefits from 15% to 10%. Currently, section 39-71-1006(1)(a)(ii), MCA provides an avenue of accessing vocational rehabilitation benefits as a "disabled worker" without regard to wage loss by virtue of an injured worker having a 10% wage loss. During a January 12th hearing, SB 3 was supported by the Labor and Management Advisory Committee (LMAC) and the Montana Trial Lawyers Association. Providing opposing testimony was the Montana Contractors Compensation Fund and the American Insurance Association.
The bill was tabled by the Senate Business and Labor committee on January 15th and is thought dead.