Vocational rehabilitation: what you need to know

Every illness or injury suffered on the job represents pain and some loss for the worker. Unfortunately, sometimes these injuries are so deep that they cause a total change in the worker’s lifestyle. Some injuries can cause the affected person to be no longer able to move on their own. It may be that he loses faculties such as seeing or hearing, or it is possible that he no longer has the stamina, strength, or coordination that he used to have. When this situation happens, the employee is protected by California law to claim workers’ compensation, specifically to claim the vocational rehabilitation benefit.

What is the vocational rehabilitation benefit?

Under California law, vocational rehabilitation takes the form of a voucher. The injured worker redeems this benefit to pay for the training associated with learning the skills necessary to obtain a job in a different field. This benefit includes career evaluation services, training, general skills improvement, refresher courses, on-the-job training, career guidance, job searches, and consultation with potential or existing employers about adaptations and modifications of the job. The services the worker will receive will depend on the worker’s needs.

How do you know if you are eligible to receive the vocational rehabilitation benefit?

To be eligible to receive this benefit, you must meet the following three requirements:

1- You must be permanently disabled: 

After suffering an injury, the worker, with the help of his doctor, must do everything possible to regain his health. If time progresses and the worker’s injury does not improve, the doctor will have to determine the effectiveness of the treatment, especially if he has already reached the maximum point of recovery. When this evaluation is accepted, it will be decided that the worker is permanently disabled.

2- You must not be able to return to work:

The doctor will determine if the worker’s new condition prevents him from performing the previous job. If so, you must notify the workers’ compensation claims administrator.

3- Your employer must not offer you an alternative or modified job.

Your employer may choose to offer you a modified position or an alternative position. If you decline the offer, you are not eligible for vocational rehabilitation.

If you want to know more about it, contact us today!