Preferred Worker Program

The Preferred Worker Program is designed to encourage the re-employment of North Dakota’s injured workers. It offers cost-saving incentives to participating employers and benefits for preferred workers.

Program Eligibility Requirements for Injured Workers:

  •  Sustained a compensable work injury in North Dakota
  • Completed the vocational rehabilitation process
  • Not released to pre-injury position or occupation
  • Not refused an offer of appropriate employment with the employer of injury

To participate an injured worker must:

  • Meet the above eligibility requirements
  • Register to participate in the program by completing a registration form

If approved to participate in the program, North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance (WSI) will provide worker with a Preferred Worker Identification Card that lists an identification number.

Benefits of the Preferred Worker Program:

  • Return to Substantial Gainful Employment.
    • This program provides a valuable tool taking into consideration the Preferred Worker's work abilities, education, experience, and transferable skills.
  • Work Search Allowance
    • When the injured worker is eligible and actively searching for employment, a work search allowance will be provided in the amount of $250. This allowance may be used for appropriate clothing for interviews, uniforms, travel expenses, or other needed items.

    • Maximum benefit is $250

  • Certification, Licensure or Related Testing Costs
    • Testing for certifications, licensure or related testing requirements for employment may be reimbursed. This includes physical examinations or membership fees required for the job
    • Maximum benefit is $500
  • Moving Expenses
    • Relocation expenses to move the household to the locale where the preferred worker has actually located work and the distance is greater to or equal than 35 miles from the primary residence.
    • Moving expenses shall be paid in accordance with N.D.C.C. 65-05.1
  • Reimbursement for Lodging, Meals and Travel Expenses Relating to On-The-Job Training
    • Upon WSI approval, the preferred worker or employer  my be reimbursed for lodging, meals and travel expenses (public transportation or mileage) to attend required employment training.
    • Reimbursement is paid at North Dakota's state rate at the time of travel
  • Tools and Equipment
    • Upon WSI approval, the preferred worker or employer may be reimbursed for tools, equipment or starter sets mandatory for employment.
    • Maximum benefit is $2,500
  • Job Analysis / Ergonomic Assessment
    • An on-site job analysis and/or ergonomic assessment may be conducted at no cost to the employer.
  • Worksite Modification Reimbursement
    • With WSI approval, costs for modifications necessary for employment or retraining may be covered.

How the program works:

  • If a worker is approved, WSI will issue an Identification (ID) Card. This card has important information as well as instructions for the Preferred Worker and potential employers.
  • The Preferred Worker may use the Identification Card with any North Dakota employer with a WSI account in good standing or any out-of-state employer with verification of worker’s compensation insurance.
  • At the time a Preferred Worker is hired under the PWP, the Identification Card will be completed by the employer and returned to WSI.
  • Once approved, a Preferred Worker Agreement will be generated. The employer and the Preferred Worker must sign the agreement before the benefits are activated.
  • Once the Preferred Worker Agreement is in effect, WSI will issue the Preferred Worker a replacement ID card to eh preferred worker.