Turn the Lights ON

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2018

This July OCC’s sister organization, Angels for Injured Workers is on a mission to raise $10,000 to turn the lights back on for 60 injured workers and their families. Electricity and water are essential to keeping life going. Utility bills are necessary, so they should be a priority every month, but if it comes down to buying groceries for your family or paying a utility bill, it is easy to see how shut-offs can happen.

When you are struggling financially, the stress of everything gets turned way up. Having your utilities turned off makes it 10 times harder. It is so disruptive. I know firsthand how devastating this can be. In my upcoming book, The Mastery of Miracles*, I detail times when my family went without. When I was growing up we frequently had our utilities turned off due to non-payment. “There was about a month when we didn't have gas to heat our apartment. We had to go to our neighbors’ apartments to heat food or take showers. When neighbors...

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Success Story: Vincent Salazar

Uncategorized Apr 23, 2018

Most of us don’t think much past the next 15-30 days. We don’t plan for losing our jobs.

I was a graphic designer for 20 years. One day, the owner of the company I worked for asked me to help unload a truck. I was helping a co-worker when I was injured, it wasn’t part of my job. The company owner didn’t have insurance and when I told him about my injury, he had a very weird way of showing me how much he appreciated my work—he fired me. So I ended up without a job, injured, and with no idea what I was going to do with my life.

I got very depressed. Not only had I lost my job and the way I made my living to support my family, but I also lost my friends. When you are the person who is injured and fired, the people you used to work with don’t want to associate with you. They think it will make them look bad.

One day in the middle of this deep depression and with no work coming to me, I was at my desk with my son playing video games beside me. I looked...

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Study Shows: Only Half of Eligible California Workers in RTW Program

Uncategorized Apr 20, 2018

We Need to Do More for Injured Workers

According to a recent Rand Corporation report, more than 28,000 permanently disabled workers in California received a $5,000 check from the Return-to-Work Supplement Program created by Senate Bill 863. However, according to the report, this represents only slightly more than half of those who are eligible. In looking at all injured workers who received the voucher (without consideration for whether it was redeemed), Rand found roughly half of those in its sample would have been eligible for a payment from the $120 million fund.

“Given that these workers can obtain a $5,000 payment by completing a short online application that is designed to take around 20 minutes, we suspect that many workers do not understand what they stand to gain from completing the Return-to-Work Supplement application,” Rand stated in the report. “The failure to take up the RTWSP was not associated with any indicators of socioeconomic vulnerability or...

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Coping with Workplace Violence

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2018

It’s a sad fact that workplace and public shootings have become all too familiar in the United States. This means we should have some idea of what to do if we ever find ourselves in the line of fire.

According to an FBI study, most active shootings end in 2 minutes or less, which is not enough time for law enforcement to arrive. So if you hear screaming and gunshots, you don’t have much time to think about what to do. Would you have time to run? If so, where would you go? Do you know where the exits are? Visualize your plan in as much detail as possible.

The Department of Homeland Security offers these response guidelines:

EVACUATE: If at all possible, run no matter what others are doing. If you can convince them to run too, great, but get out of the area immediately if you can. Leave your belongings behind. As soon as you get to safety, call 911. Don’t assume someone already has.

HIDE OUT: If you can’t run, find a secure place to hide. You want a place...

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What difference can $5,000 make anyway?

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2018

Let's pretend you play the lottery now and again. Let's pretend you played last night on your way home when you stopped at the gas station.

Let's pretend you completely forgot about the ticket until two minutes ago. You reached into your wallet to pay for your Starbucks triple grande mocha latte upside down with extra caramel and whipped cream. You pull out the ticket and decide to check the numbers on your phone.

The first number matches! You feel the excitement in your stomach. The second number is a match!! The excitement builds and you feel as though you already drank your souped-up drink. Then, it's a blur. Match, match, match!!!! You just won $5,000.

What are you going to spend it on? Disneyland passes for the whole family? Summer vacation in Cancun? New iPad for your daughter? Those cute Jimmy Choo shoes or Louis Vuitton belt?

Sometimes life can seem like winning the lottery--even for an injured worker.

Mary woke up to another average, hot day. She made her way to the mailbox...

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Uncategorized Mar 30, 2018

The Administrative Director has a required form that starts the time clock on Supplemental Job Displacement procedure, Physician Return-To-Work & Voucher Report DWC AD Form 10133.36:

This form is to be completed by the primary treating physician, an agreed medical evaluator or a qualified medical evaluator finding that the disability from conditions for which compensation is claimed has become permanent and stationary and that the injury has caused permanent partial disability. The voucher report shall be forwarded by the carrier to the employer in order to fully inform the employer “of work capacities and activity restrictions resulting from the injury that are relevant to potential regular, modified, or alternative work.”  Labor Code §4658.7(b)(1)(B).

The employer has no more than 60 days after receipt of the voucher report to make an offer for regular, modified or alternative work lasting at least 12 months. If no valid job offer is made,...

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Helping Someone with Depression

Uncategorized Mar 30, 2018

"When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t...I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger.  We learn new tricks on the battlefield.  We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them.  We don’t struggle in vain."

- Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: a Funny Book About Horrible Things

If someone you care about is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, overwhelm, frustration, anger, guilt, and sadness. It’s not easy dealing with a friend or family member’s depression. Below you will find suggestions for how you can help others and how to talk about depression without increasing the risk of harm.

  • Be a compassionate listener rather than...
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Meeting with Director, Christine Baker and $16 Million Delivered to Injured Workers

Uncategorized Mar 28, 2018

Why was I so persistent? Because this is what I know for sure:

I see first-hand the stress, heartache, and struggle of injured workers.

I am excited about the Return to Work & Supplement Fund and I know that with just a few very small changes we could massively increase the amount of support and how quickly injured workers receive it and get back to work.

In 90 days the impact of being injured can result in loss of home, destroyed relationships, debt, and sometimes suicide. If we can simplify this process we can save lives!

I was recently invited to Oakland to meet with Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, State of California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. We discussed various points impeding injured workers' access to their job loss benefits.  First, we went over what is going right with the current system and we agreed that there is a lot! Then I shared a few items that need help such as Missing Physician Return to Work &...

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Let’s Help Injured Workers to a Better Future...a Better Life

Uncategorized Mar 27, 2018

OCC is a firm believer in education. We know that education creates choice and possibility in life. We want to be part of the choice and possibility for your clients and make you look like the superheroes you are.

When an injured worker comes to you after they have lost their job, their self-esteem has taken a beating and they may be feeling worthless. They are probably hurting physically as well. They look up to their attorney as the person who can guide them to the other side of this. You are in a unique position to encourage them to do something they may have never considered before.

People who have only learned one way to make a living are going to have a hard time seeing other possibilities. They generally go back to the kind of work they were doing when they were injured because they don’t know what else to do.  But if they train to do something different, say computers, they have all new choices. If they want to learn about other parts of the world, they could work...

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One Person Can Make a Difference!

Uncategorized Mar 21, 2018

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama, led to some of the most significant civil rights legislation of American history.

After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender, Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980. Before MADD, there were little to no legal consequences for driving while intoxicated; her organization transformed American attitudes about drunk driving and successfully fought for stricter laws across the country.

Union leader and labor organizer Cesar Chavez began as a migrant farm worker and formed a Latino civil rights group which brought attention to the appalling working conditions. This led to the creation of the United Farm Workers of America which has improved treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers.

As you can see from these examples, speaking up is the most powerful way one person can make a difference.  Speaking up is not only about the words you use...

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