If you've been hurt on the job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. This benefit usually comes after you have been ruled to be at maximum medical improvement, which is another way of saying that you are permanently disabled. The way the offer, or in some cases the requirement, for vocational rehabilitation services can vary, so read on to learn more about it.
What is vocational rehabilitation?
In most cases, this term encompasses several different services. It can be training for another job at your current place of employment if you are no longer able to do your previous job, or it can be training for an entirely new employment opportunity. You might also find the following services available:
- Career counseling
- Career evaluation with aptitude testing
- Mental health counseling
- Resume writing training and job placement assistance
- Soft skills training
How does it work?
The disabled worker is usually assigned a rehabilitation manager who works to create a custom-made plan including some the above services, depending on the needs. For example, if your injury involves your back and you can no longer do construction work, you may be interested in learning design and drafting. This is a desk job that allows you to stay in the same industry and might bring the equivalent amount of salary as your previous job. If a worker needs a workplace adjustment, this is also often handled by vocational rehab. For instance, you might need a modified desk or other adjustments.
The way you are paid and pay for these services vary according to your state and your exact circumstances. In some cases, the vocational rehab is part of your workers' comp settlement and is paid for by your insurance carrier. In some cases, the state covers the cost. The pay you receive also depends on the way your settlement is structured and the percentage of disability you have suffered. An 80% level of disability may pay more than a 50% level of disability, for example.
The need for good legal help when it comes time to negotiate your workers' comp settlement is vital. If you have a permanent injury, there is a chance that your ability to earn money will be affected for the remainder of your life. The way your settlement is set up and the inclusion of vocational rehabilitation is of utmost concern, so speak to a workers' comp attorney like Santos Joel A as soon as you are ruled to be at maximum medical improvement.