When workers get hurt on the job, they have the right to some benefits, such as compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages. However, sometimes the employers or insurance companies deny the worker’s compensation claims. If this happened to you, you don’t need to worry. You cannot only dispute the claim’s denial with the court, but you may also have the right to ask for vocational rehabilitation that will help you get back to work.
All injured workers can ask for vocational rehabilitation. However, the Department of Labor and Industry’s Vocational Rehabilitation Unit (VRU) primarily rehabilitates workers whose employers denied their compensation claims. The goal of rehabilitation is to restore the injured worker so that they can return to a similar job to the one they had before the injury. The vocational rehabilitation may include some of the following services, depending on the case:
- Job development
- On-the-job training
- Work adjustment
- Vocational counseling
- Retraining planning
- Job modification
- Job placement
- Return-to-work assistance
To receive vocational rehabilitation, you will first need to request a consultation with the VRU. In the consultation, a consultant will evaluate if you need rehabilitation. You can only ask for a consultation once you have initiated a dispute with the court because you disagreed with your claim’s denial.
Vocational rehabilitation eligibility
Not all workers are eligible for vocational rehabilitation, as the VRU only provides it to those who need it most. To determine if a worker needs it, the consultant will evaluate if:
- The worker can’t ever do the same job they had before the injury again
- The worker can’t return to do another job for the previous employer
- The worker can return to any suitable, gainful employment if they complete the rehabilitation services
If any of these is true, the consultant will approve the rehabilitation. After the approval, the consultant will create a rehabilitation plan that the worker must follow to recover and become suitable for work again.
A new opportunity
The rehabilitation plan may benefit you in many ways, and you don’t need to pay anything to get it. However, you must cooperate with the plan. Otherwise, the VRU can suspend it. With vocational rehabilitation, you’ll have an opportunity to get back on track and find another job while the court works on your compensation dispute.