If you're unable to do your past job because of your medical restrictions, you may need vocational rehabilitation to train you for a new career. The FAQs below will explain how workers compensation benefits can cover voc rehab, which includes tuition reimbursement or job training.
For help from a workers comp lawyer today, call us (855) 221-COMP. Or you can fill out our consultation form. The call and the advice are free.
What workers compensation benefits am I entitled to?
What is vocational rehabilitation?
What is a vocational rehabilitation counselor?
What if I'm given permanent work restrictions?
How long will workers comp cover vocational rehabilitation?
Can I receive wage loss benefits while I'm pursuing vocational rehabilitation?
What if my employer stops my lost wages while I'm pursuing voc rehab?
Will returning to work help me?
Q. What workers compensation benefits am I entitled to?
A. If you are injured in the course and scope of your employment, you are entitled to specific workers compensation benefits, including wage loss, medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation.
Workers comp is a compromise between employee and employer interests. That means you don't have to prove negligence to get compensation, but you are limited in what benefits you can receive.
Pain and suffering is not available under Michigan workers compensation. This might seem unfair, but the amount of benefits paid under Michigan workers comp can be substantial.
Q. What is vocational rehabilitation?
A. You have the legal right to vocational rehabilitation if you suffer an injury at work. Vocational rehabilitation is a work comp benefit that includes schooling (tuition reimbursement) or training to prepare you for another job, if you find yourself incapable of doing your past work because of permanent restrictions.
Your employer may be required to provide vocational rehabilitation to help you get back to gainful employment.
Sometimes all that is needed is a good vocational rehabilitation counselor to help with a resume and job search activities.
Q. What is a vocational rehabilitation counselor ?
A. A vocational rehabilitation counselor is a professional who helps individuals with work-related disabilities get back to gainful employment.
Q. What if I'm given permanent work restrictions?
A. A work injury can be a life changing event when it results in permanent work restrictions. If you have been doing heavy work your entire life, the transition to light or sedentary work can be extremely difficult.
It can also pay less money.
You should understand that if you're given permanent work restrictions, this does not mean that you are disabled for life. Vocational rehabilitation is available to help you get back to gainful employment. Many of our clients use vocational rehabilitation to pay for school or to get certified for other careers.
Q. How long will workers comp cover vocational rehabilitation?
A. Workers compensation can pay for up to two years of vocational rehabilitation.
Q. Can I receive wage loss benefits while I'm pursuing vocational rehabilitation?
A. You are entitled to wage loss benefits under workers compensation while you are pursuing vocational rehabilitation. This helps pays the bills and reduces stress while you get retrained.
Your employer and its workers compensation insurance company have a major incentive to help you with retraining and job placement. If you can find other work, then you do not get wage loss benefits. If you find a lesser paying job, the difference must be paid by workers compensation.
Q. What if my employer stops my lost wages while I'm pursuing voc rehab?
A. Unfortunately, some employers and insurance companies use vocational rehabilitation to reduce or stop wage loss benefits — instead of trying to help you find other work. You may want to go to school and start a new career. But the insurance company may want you to simply accept any job so that wage loss benefits can be stopped.
While the true purpose of a vocational counselor is to help you find suitable employment after an at-work injury, vocational counselors are sometimes hired by insurance companies for the sole purpose of cutting your wage loss benefits. A bad vocational counselor can make your situation worse by ignoring work restrictions and by suggesting demeaning jobs. If it is found that you did not cooperate with a vocational counselor, you could lose entitlement to wage loss benefits. This is completely unfair and you should not be treated like this.
You might also be sent to a vocational counselor for a "transferable skills analysis." This is based upon a recent Supreme Court case called Stokes v. Chrysler. You may find that your wage loss benefits have been cut based upon a job that does not actually exist. This is not vocational rehabilitation and you should call an experienced workers compensation lawyer immediately if this happens.
If your vocational counselor is giving you a hard time, it's best to consult with an experienced work comp lawyer. Call us at (855) 221-COMP, and we can protect you when your wage loss benefits are put in jeopardy.
Q. Will returning to work help me?
A. We find that our clients have much better outcomes if they can return to gainful activity after an injury at work. This is because workers compensation will never pay the equivalent to wages earned over a lifetime.
It has been our experience that a successful return to work helps reduce stress and restores a normal life.
If you have questions about vocational rehabilitation or if you're having problems receiving your lost wages, call us at (855) 221-COMP.
Our work comp lawyers are here to explain your legal rights, and there is no fee or obligation.
You can also fill out our free contact form.