In a perfect world, everyone would be able to return to their job in a full capacity once they’ve recovered, but we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world. When an employee can no longer perform the same tasks they did prior to their injury, they will either be transitioned into a new role at the same company or forced to find a new position altogether. Thankfully, should you ever find yourself in this position, you don’t have to go through it alone. You can apply for and receive what’s known as retraining benefits in Minnesota. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at retraining benefits and how they can help you get back to a fulfilling line of work.
What Is Retraining Compensation?
Retraining is a benefit associated with the Minnesota’s workers compensation system that helps an employee return to suitable gainful employment. Retraining, as the name implies, is a system that is designed to help the injured employee learn new skills that will help them thrive in a new position despite their current injury situation.
In order to get retraining benefits, you have to develop a formal retraining plan with the assistance of your injury lawyer and your Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant. You can learn more about QRCs in this blog, but essentially they are someone whose sole job is to help you recover in the wake of an injury. They’ll help you draft your retraining plan which will then be filed with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. If your plan is approved, you’ll be able to begin your retraining and your expenses will be covered by workers’ compensation.
So what exactly goes in a formal retraining plan? Some of the most important aspects that the plan must include are:
- Your retraining goal
- The formal course of study required by the retraining plan
- Expected beginning and ending dates
- Pre-injury job title and wage information
- Reasons as to why you’re proposing retraining and why it should be approved
- Medical documentation that training is within the worker’s physical restrictions
For example, let’s say that you work construction but an injury has left you unable to use your left arm. You’ve decided that your best way to return to gainful employment is to transition to a career as a teacher. In your formal retraining plan, you’ll lay out your course of study to attain the necessary requirements to find employment as a teacher. Assuming your plan looks good, expenses like tuition, books, mileage to school and lost wages while you’re retraining will all be covered by workers’ compensation. The same benefits are available to a stay-at-home parent whose spouse has died in a workplace accident and who needs help reentering the workforce.
As expected, there are some limitations associated with your retraining. For example, your formal course of study cannot run longer than 156 weeks, so you can’t use retraining benefits to fund your quest to become a surgeon. Also, you must file for retraining benefits before 208 weeks of wage-loss benefits have been paid to you. This may seem like a long time, but many people put a lot of work into their recovery so they can return to their old job, so it may be months or years before they comes to grips with the fact that they need to find a new career, which is why you have four years to file your formal retraining plan. Finally, your benefits can also be terminated if you fail to follow the rules of your training plan or fail standard tests required for advancement in your formal study.
If you’re considering filing for retraining, it’s in your best interest to sync up with a lawyer before you submit your formal plan. Having a QRC by your side is helpful, but a lawyer knows how to plan for potential denials and ensure your submission has the best chance of being approved. If you’re serious about your retraining plan, you need to have a lawyer by your side during the process. Dean and his team have helped many people successfully file and earn retraining benefits, and we can do the same for you. Reach out to our office for more information.
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