Vocational Rehabilitation for Injured WorkersFebruary 1, 2019
When an employee is injured, or suffers from a work-related illness, Workers’ Compensation covers the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the injury. If the injury or illness prevents the worker from being able to return to his or her job in the same capacity, vocational rehabilitation is another Workers’ Compensation benefit that can help the employee re-enter the workforce.
From testing and job placement to counseling and on-the-job training, this is an extremely valuable benefit for injured workers who may not otherwise be able to return to work.
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission defines vocational rehabilitation as a benefit that helps disabled employees by providing the necessary services that will help them return to work in some capacity. A vocational rehabilitation specialist will work with the employee and provide services that may include testing, job placement, counselling, job training, and other services that can help the employee get back to work and earn a salary.
Ideally, the employee will be able to return to a job using many of the same skills and experience that they used in the previous job. If that is not possible, the vocational rehabilitation specialist will identify other job options, though they may require a certain amount of retraining.
If the specialist believes that the employee is a candidate for retraining, they may be eligible for up to two years of training in a new position. Not all jobs require a full two years, and the type of job will determine the amount of training needed.
The vocational rehabilitation specialist will work hard to identify a position that offers the same salary that the worker was making prior to the injury – but this is not always feasible. If the employee made a certain salary based on specific qualifications that they are no longer able to carry out, the new position may involve a pay cut.
Vocational Rehabilitation Process
The following is a typical vocational rehabilitation timeline:
- Interview with a counselor: Includes a complete employment history, as well as physical limitations, work experience, and personal interests that could increase employability.
- Develop customized plan. Counselor will set goals that are specific to employee’s needs.
- Obtain agreement. All individuals must agree on the plan and confirm that the goals are realistic and attainable. If all parties are not in agreement, the matter will be sent to a Commissioner, who will determine whether the plan is appropriate.
- Begin training or pursuing job leads with the assistance of the counselor.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Workers Secure Vocational Rehabilitation
If you or a loved one have been injured at work, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. In addition to covering the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, and prescription medications associated with your injury, you are also entitled to vocational rehabilitation services, which can help you return to work and continue earning a salary. Our experienced legal team is committed to protecting your rights and securing the maximum financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We represent clients throughout the state of Maryland.