Vocational rehabilitation benefits are an option for injured workers who can no longer perform the same tasks as they could prior to their work injury. Vocational rehab benefits can differ based on the industry and your specific job role, so they aren’t always clearly defined. Below, we share some examples of vocational rehabilitation benefits and how they are paid.
Understanding Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
As we noted above, vocational rehab benefits are a wide range of services that are designed to help injured workers develop the necessary skills to return to work in their old role, or develop new skills to help them find work in a different role. Vocational rehab benefits are tailored to the individual and their injury. For example, the training a construction worker who lost his foot in an accident would receive would be different than the training a mechanic who threw out his back would receive.
Vocational rehab counselors (VRC) help individuals either transition back to their old position or find a new job that pays as close to or more than the job the worker had at the time of the injury. Here are some examples of how they achieve each:
Return To Old Job – A VRC will create a rehab plan based on the person’s limitations and abilities. For example, let’s say an office worker lost their right hand in an accident. The vocational rehab counselor may help to redesign the work stations so that tasks are easier for the worker, and they may set them up with things like a hands-free headset, a new computer keyboard or a computer with voice-to-text capabilities. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the worker to perform the same tasks that they did prior to their injury.
Transition To New Job – If it’s clear that a worker will not be able to return to the same job after their injury, the VRC will sit down with the worker to learn about their skills and their education background. They can then work with the employee in a number of different ways, like by providing career counseling, assistance with resume writing, job placement, skills training, continuing education and helping them transition into a new role.
Can I Get Vocational Rehab Benefits?
You can seek out vocational rehabilitation benefits if your injury makes it impossible to return to your job in the same role as you did prior to your injury. Each state has different specifications for receiving vocational rehab benefits, so it is generally in your best interest to talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer if you are interested in these benefits.
Generally speaking, in order to receive vocational rehab benefits you need to prove to the insurance company that you need assistance to return to your job or the find a new role after the injury. If you are approved by the insurance company, you can then seek out vocational rehab benefits.
It’s also worth noting that vocational rehab benefits may actually be ordered as mandatory by the insurance company. Once you’re injured, the insurance company wants you to make as full a recovery and as expedient a recovery as possible so that they don’t have to continue making payments. There are certain levels of injury at which the insurance company requires injured workers in Minnesota to receive vocational rehabilitation. If you choose not to participate in rehabilitation, you can have your workers’ compensation payments reduced.
If you know that you’re going to need help transitioning back into the workforce after an injury, consider filing for vocational rehabilitation benefits. If you want assistance during this process, or if you have questions about your eligibility or how to maximize your benefits, reach out to Dean Margolis today.