Nevada law (NRS 616C.555), provides that the length of a retraining program that may be authorized is determined by the permanent partial disability impairment percentage (the PPD). This law does not make a lot of sense in that a an injured worker may have a high PPD under the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, but may be capable of returning to work, particularly if the injured worker’s job was sedentary. Similarly, an injured worker may rate a low PPD under the AMA Guides , but may not be capable of working unless he is retrained for a long time. Nonetheless, the length of a retraining program is limited by the PPD percentage, regardless of the actual needs of the injured worker.
Injured workers with PPD’s of 1% to 5% may be offered programs up to 9 months long.
Injured workers with PPD’s of 6 to 10% may have programs up to 12 months.
Injured workers with PPD’s of 11% or more may have programs up to 18 months.
Only severely injured workers, or those with exceptional circumstances may obtain programs that are longer under NRS 616C.560. The law is worded in such a way as to allow insurers to offer less than the maximum allowable length of retraining if the insurer believes that the injured worker could be retrained to gainful employment in a shorter amount of time. A good vocational rehabilitation counselor will try to request the best program for the injured worker. Realistically, it is very difficult to find suitable retraining programs for injured workers who were earning high wages at the time of their accidents because of the statutory restrictions on the length of retraining programs.