Vocational RehabilitationJanuary 9, 2019
Some workers will need more than physical rehabilitation to continue on with their lives after an on-the-job injury. They may never recover sufficiently to perform the jobs they did before; but that does not mean they cannot ever work again.
For them, vocational rehabilitation can teach them new skills and allow them to re-enter the workforce in a new career. For some people, it may turn out that an on-the-job injury and subsequent vocational rehabilitation leading to different employment may prove the best thing that ever happened to them.
There are pitfalls, however, of which the worker must maintain awareness.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, vocational rehabilitation provides either training or tuition reimbursement, so that injured employees may find new jobs. Workers’ Compensation pays for up to two years of such training and tuition.
During that period, the worker may continue to receive their wage loss benefits while they undergo training or schooling. However, if a worker finds employment on their own, they will no longer receive wage loss benefits.
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
Injured workers are assigned to vocational rehabilitation counselors, who will help them find gainful employment. There are 21 of these offices statewide. The process includes an interview in which the counselor determines the type of work for which the individual may qualify. The counselor then develops an Individualized Plan for Employment for the person.
However, during this interview, it is wise for the worker to have an attorney present. That is because the information the counselor receives from the worker may aid the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance provider to deny a benefit claim.
After the interview, the counselor presents the worker with a labor market survey, which shows potential job opportunities that the worker is capable of performing. However, potential job opportunities are obviously not concrete job offers.
An insurer may attempt to eliminate wage loss benefits based on these “potential” jobs, and that is why it is so important to have legal representation during this time.
Benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation
When a person has held a certain job for a long time, but can no longer perform the required tasks due to a job-related disability, the idea of going back to school and training for a new career is often scary.
Keep in mind, however, that Workers’ Compensation benefits do not pay as much as regular wages over the long-term. Receiving training and going on to a new type of job allows an injured worker to have a more normal, and usually fulfilling, life.
Delaware County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Fight for Those Injured on the Job
If you or a loved one were injured while on the job, you need the services of an experienced Delaware County Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. Call us today at 610-228-4376 or contact us online for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Media, and Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading and West Chester.