Many people in Ohio who have suffered work-related injuries would like to be able to return to work, and they naturally wonder if they can receive vocational rehabilitation as part of the workers’ compensation benefits. In this blog, we will summarize the conditions that must be satisfied in order to obtain rehabilitation services for a workplace injury.
Regulations promulgated by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation state that “vocational rehabilitation is the process of restoring the vocational functioning of a worker who experiences an industrial injury or occupational disease.” The worker must voluntarily agree to participate in the rehabilitation program. Also, rehabilitation services must be focused on allowing the injured worker to return to work and not on medical management of the injury or illness.
An injured worker must be referred for rehabilitation services, but anyone can make such a referral. The injured worker must have a “significant impediment” to employment as the direct result of injury or illness that gave rise to the original claim for benefits. The worker must also demonstrate that he or she satisfies at least one of seven conditions, including receipt of compensation benefits, receipt of a temporary loss award or attainment of maximum medical improvement and is not receiving compensation benefits. The injured worker must also demonstrate a “reasonable probability” that he or she will benefit from the services and be able to return to work. All determinations of eligibility for rehabilitation benefits are made by the Bureau of Workers Compensation, and the denial of an application for rehabilitation benefits can be appealed.
As with other claims for workers compensation benefits, a claim for vocational rehabilitation services may benefit from a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in workers compensation law. Such a consultation can provide an analysis of the claim and an estimate of the likelihood of receiving rehabilitation benefits.
Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, “4123-18-03 Guidelines for referral to and acceptance into vocational rehabilitation,” accessed on Oct. 31, 2016