(a) General. An injured employee is not entitled to supplemental income benefits until the expiration of the impairment income benefit period.
(b) Eligibility Criteria. An injured employee who has an impairment rating of 15% or greater, who has not commuted any impairment income benefits, who has not permanently lost entitlement to supplemental income benefits and who has completed and filed an Application for Supplemental Income Benefits in accordance with this subchapter is eligible to receive supplemental income benefits if, during the qualifying period, the injured employee:
(1) has earned less than 80% of the injured employee's average weekly wage as a direct result of the impairment from the compensable injury; and
(2) has demonstrated an active effort to obtain employment in accordance with Labor Code §408.1415 and this section.
(c) Direct Result. An injured employee has earned less than 80% of the injured employee's average weekly wage as a direct result of the impairment from the compensable injury if the impairment from the compensable injury is a cause of the reduced earnings.
(d) Work Search Requirements.
(1) An injured employee demonstrates an active effort to obtain employment by meeting at least one or any combination of the following work search requirements each week during the entire qualifying period:
(A) has returned to work in a position which is commensurate with the injured employee's ability to work;
(B) has actively participated in a vocational rehabilitation program as defined in §130.101 of this title (relating to Definitions);
(C) has actively participated in work search efforts conducted through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC);
(D) has performed active work search efforts documented by job applications; or
(E) has been unable to perform any type of work in any capacity, has provided a narrative report from a doctor which specifically explains how the injury causes a total inability to work, and no other records show that the injured employee is able to return to work.
(2) An injured employee who has not met at least one of the work search requirements in any week during the qualifying period is not entitled to SIBs unless the injured employee can demonstrate that he or she had reasonable grounds for failing to comply with the work search requirements under this section.
(e) Vocational Rehabilitation. As provided in subsection (d)(1)(B) of this section, regarding active participation in a vocational rehabilitation program, an injured employee shall provide documentation sufficient to establish that he or she has actively participated in a vocational rehabilitation program during the qualifying period.
(f) Work Search Efforts. As provided in subsection (d)(1)(C) and (D) of this section regarding active participation in work search efforts and active work search efforts, an injured employee shall provide documentation sufficient to establish that he or she has, each week during the qualifying period, made the minimum number of job applications and or work search contacts consistent with the work search contacts established by TWC which are required for unemployment compensation in the injured employee's county of residence pursuant to the TWC Local Workforce Development Board requirements. If the required number of work search contacts changes during a qualifying period, the lesser number of work search contacts shall be the required minimum number of contacts for that period. If residing out of state, the minimum number of work search contacts required will be the number required by the public employment service in accordance with applicable unemployment compensation laws for the injured employee's place of residence.
(g) Calculation of amount. Subject to any approved reduction for the effects of contribution, the monthly supplemental income benefit payment is calculated quarterly as follows:
(1) multiply the injured employee's average weekly wage by 80% (.80);
(2) add the injured employee's wages for all 13 weeks of the qualifying period;
(3) divide the total wages by 13;
(4) subtract this figure from the result of paragraph (1) of this subsection;
(5) multiply the difference by 80% (.80);
(6) if the resulting amount is greater than the maximum rate under the Act, Labor Code, §408.061, use the maximum rate; and
(7) multiply the result by 4.34821.
(h) Maximum Medical Improvement and Impairment Rating Disputes. If there is no pending dispute regarding the date of maximum medical improvement or the impairment rating prior to the expiration of the first quarter, the date of maximum medical improvement and the impairment rating shall be final and binding.
(i) Services Provided by a Carrier Through a Private Provider of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The insurance carrier is responsible for reasonable travel expenses incurred by the injured employee if the employee is required to travel in excess of 20 miles one way from the injured employee's residence to obtain vocational rehabilitation services from a private provider.
The provisions of this §130.102 adopted to be effective January 31, 1999, 24 TexReg 399; amended to be effective November 28, 1999, 24 TexReg 10339; amended to be effective July 1, 2009, 34 TexReg 2138; amended to be effective April 15, 2018, 43 TexReg 2153.