What's New for Vocational Counselors

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Email VocRehabProgram@Lni.wa.gov to request archived What's New postings.

L&I seeks input on proposed rules to improve vocational services

Aug. 22, 2019

L&I is proposing new rules that support vocational recovery. The new rules would mean vocational recovery services are the first provided by private-sector vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) in most State Fund cases. The intent is to better align the rules with the state law that places a high priority on returning a worker to employment.

The proposed rules also:

  • Establish certain expectations for vocational firms.
  • Clarify when VRCs and vocational firms may be subject to corrective actions or sanctions.
  • Spell out what those sanctions include.

You can view the rules on L&Is website for rule development.

How to provide input

You can provide input in writing or at a public hearing. Written input must be received by 6 p.m. on Oct. 4.

  • Attend public hearing at 10 a.m. on Oct. 2. The meeting will be held at L&Is Tumwater building, room S117/118.
  • Email: Laurinda.Grytness@Lni.wa.gov
  • Fax: 360-902-6706
  • Mail:
    Laurinda Grytness
    Department of Labor & Industries
    PO Box 44329
    Olympia WA 98504-4329

We will consider all input before preparing the final rules this fall.

Questions? Contact L&I rules analyst Laurinda Grytness at Laurinda.Grytness@Lni.wa.gov

Vocational Recovery Workshops

August 16, 2019

This fall, Return to Work Partnerships will be holding a series of Vocational Recovery Workshops across the state, in place of the Fall Vocational Conference.


Registration will be available on the Whats New for Vocational Counselors page on Lni.wa.gov from Sept. 2 Oct. 15

Register early! Space may be limited, and priority will be given to private sector vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) and VRC interns who are certified to receive referrals and bill for services for L&I and/or self-insured employers.

The registration form will allow you to select two locations; if your first choice is full you will be moved to your second choice. You will receive a calendar invitation with event details after Oct. 15.

Workshop dates and locations
Date Location
Nov. 6 Spokane
Nov. 7 Yakima
Nov. 12 Everett
Nov. 13 & 14 Tukwila
Dec. 12 Vancouver
Dec. 13 Tumwater

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Brianna Peterson at Brianna.Peterson@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-6741.

Additional information about accessing interpreter services

August 06, 2019

We recently announced that there may be a shortage of interpreters who are also L&I providers, due to certification issues. The attached updated flyer contains resources to consider when you are not able to access an interpreter.

Vocational Technical Stakeholders Group (VTSG): meeting July 23

July 22, 2019

The next VTSG meeting is Tuesday, July 23, 2019. You can view the agenda here.

Reminder: You can join us as an audience member and earn CEUs for your participation! Visit the VTSG webpage for additional information on upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations and to review meeting notes.

Important message about the Vocational Provider Application

July 18, 2019

The Statewide Payee Registration form has been updated. This affects the Vocational Provider Application because, for your convenience, we include a copy of the Statewide Payee form at the end of the application form.

You can access the Vocational Provider Application with the updated 2019 Statewide Payee Form here. We cannot process applications received with an outdated Statewide Payee form.

Note: No changes have been made to the Vocational Provider Application itself.

Possible shortage of certified/authorized interpreters

July 17, 2019

Beginning July 30, VRCs may encounter a shortage of certified/authorized interpreters. This is due to a Department of Social and Health Services rule that set new requirements for continuing certification. See attached flyer (375 KB PDF) for more details.

VSS staff updates

July 15, 2019

The Claims VSS staff are happy to announce that Bailey Ramsdell, CDMS, joined our team on 1/01/2019

Please check Contact Us to find the most up-to-date unit coverage assignments.

VocLink Connect issue

July 8, 2019

Customers who use VocLink Connect are being prompted to upgrade to a paid version of Java to use the service. L&I is looking into this issue and will update this page as we learn more.

Vocational conference presentation is now available

July 3, 2019

Thank you for joining us at the L&I Spring Vocational Conference on June 7, 2019. The presentation and handouts are now available:

Also, a big thank you to our presenters!

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Santos at Jennifer.santos@lni.wa.gov or call 360-902-6576.

Maximum vocational training fund adjustment

June 10, 2019

The maximum vocational training fund is increasing. This change is the result of an annual adjustment required under the statue governing vocational rehabilitation services.

The training fund amount is directly linked to the plan approval date.

If the plan is or was approved:

  • July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, the amount is $18,660.46.
  • July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, the amount is $18,294.57.

The amount of the maximum training fund applies regardless of whether a worker chooses Option 1 or Option 2 after plan approval.

L&I begins rulemaking to improve vocational services

June 06, 2019

Were ready to take the next step in preventing unnecessary work disability proposing new administrative rules (WAC) that support vocational recovery as the first priority for VRCs services. Read more about the proposal. (258 KB PDF)

Useful Outcomes will retire as a performance indicator

May 29, 2019

As of June 1, all referral outcomes will be designated as neutral. This means that VRCs, firms and claim managers will see blank cells under the Useful Outcomes heading in the performance report. This change aligns with the direction of the Vocational Recovery Project (VRP). As we move forward, we will be working with our partners to identify other performance indicators that will better support the VRP worker-centric model.

How to request ADMX for all referral types

January 2, 2019

Beginning January 1, 2019, a VRC can submit a request for ADMX via EVOC for the following referral types:

  • Vocational Recovery (EI)
  • Ability to Work Assessment (AWA)
  • Plan Development (PD)
  • Plan Implementation (PI)

Once the EVOC is granted, VRCs don't need to submit EVOC updates on the ADMX. However, it is critical that L&I and the vocational community strengthen their efforts to identify and resolve barriers as soon as they appear. Therefore, as soon as a VRC identifies barriers, they should promptly submit an EVOC so they can collaborate with their VSS on how to overcome them. 

Note: Because the original fee caps for vocational referrals have increased, make sure you have exhausted the funding in the original fee cap before requesting ADMX.

Help identify and address psychosocial barriers

December 18, 2018

The first document below summarizes the actions we encourage vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) to take to address psychosocial barriers they observe with workers.

The second document contains internal claims training content (originally shared at the L&I fall voc conference). This describes in-depth guidance given to claim managers who are talking to workers, providers, and employers. It also describes psychosocial interventions in detail and gives answers to some frequently asked questions. 

Questions? Please write to VocRecoveryProject@Lni.wa.gov

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