If you or a loved one is receiving rehabilitation after suffering a workplace injury, there are really two types of activities that could be going on. One is the traditional medically-related rehabilitation, one that challenges your body or mind or return to the condition it was pre-work injury. The other rehabilitation concerns “vocational” rehabilitation. In many states, injured workers who cannot return to their former employment are entitled to this type of rehabilitation at the expense of their employer’s workers’ compensation carrier.
It’s possible an injured worker could be receiving one or both types of rehabilitation after suffering a work injury and taking workers’ compensation benefits. Just like with medical rehabilitation, there are lots of possibilities as to what rehabilitative exercises or ‘activities’ a person could be exposed to in order to help their transition back to work after a work injury. Because not all workers will be able to return to their job after suffering a work injury, the second type of rehabilitation aims at helping the injured worker gain skills, experience and confidence to make the transition to a different job or profession.
Just like with physical rehabilitation, the actual vocational rehabilitation benefits to which an injured employee will be entitled are determined by two factors. One is an employee’s specific situation and the second is an employer’s responsibility to comply with statutory and regulatory limitations. Here are just a few potential vocational rehabilitation services: On-the-job training, transferable skills analysis and testing, resume and job application completion services, job search assistance, wage assessment evaluations, vocational rehabilitation counseling Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation assistance, medical case management and even education and tuition payments for retraining.
Because these benefits and programs can be key to transitioning an injured worker into a new profession it’s an attractive benefit. Based on state law, these benefits could be available to those who have been granted workers’ compensation after a work injury. Not all injured workers will be able to return to their previous job. This can help make the transition period smoother and easier to manage.