Available benefits that can help a disabled employee transition to a new career when they have permanent work restrictions under workers’ comp.
Many of our clients have been doing heavy work for their entire lives. Getting hurt on-the-job can be a life changing event. This is especially true when an employee ends up with permanent work restrictions under workers’ comp. The transition to light or sedentary work is not easy. Starting over can also result in much lower pay.
We encourage our clients who are given permanent work restrictions under workers’ comp to start thinking about the future. Many people successfully transition to new careers and return to gainful employment. Here is some information about wage loss, medical, and vocational rehabilitation benefits that can help a person get back on their feet.
Wage loss benefits
Most of our clients just want to find a new job so they can support themselves and their families. Nobody wants to be disabled and unable to earn a living. The idea that people get rich from workers’ comp is totally ridiculous. It only pays a fraction of lost wages and requires a good-faith job search to qualify.
Disabled employees are entitled to 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. This amount is fixed at the time of injury and subject to a weekly maximum. Insurance companies can also reduce checks based upon post-injury wage earning capacity (PIWEC) if they say jobs are available.
A person should not be penalized for trying to find a new job when they have permanent work restrictions under workers’ comp. Wage loss benefits continue during this process. It is also possible to receive the difference between earnings now and what a person could earn before the injury if it was substantially more.
When someone has permanent work restrictions under workers’ comp, they usually need medical care for life. Pain management and physical therapy are critical to rehabilitation.
Lifetime medical benefits are available regardless of whether a person is working. All reasonable and necessary medical care should be paid by the insurance company without any co-pays or deductibles.
Many people decide to settle their claims for a lump sum cash payment. This allows them to get future medical treatment without insurance company harassment or interference.
Vocational rehabilitation benefits
Insurance companies have a big incentive to help disabled employees with permanent work restrictions under workers’ comp. Finding them a new job could end responsibility for paying wage loss benefits. Unfortunately, our experience shows this is a potential trap and disabled employees need to watch out.
A vocational counselor is typically hired to help with a job search. A person can also get a maximum of two years paid tuition reimbursement or retraining. Wage loss benefits should continue during the vocational rehabilitation process.
Watch out for insurance companies who hire vocational counselors for the purpose of harassment or to cut-off wage loss benefits. A situation can be made worse if demeaning jobs are suggested. If it is found that a person did not cooperate with a vocational rehabilitation, he or she can lose out on additional wage loss benefits.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.