Vocational Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers in Illinois
Illinois Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Vocational rehabilitation is a process of helping people who have suffered an injury or illness to rebuild their work skills. In some cases, an individual who has been injured can return to his or her previous job. If the injury or illness causes long-term or permanent limitations, it is possible to be trained for a different type of job. Laws vary from state to state, but you may be entitled to payment for your vocational rehabilitation services through your workers’ compensation benefits. Payment can be required from your employer, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, the state, or a combination of these three.
Types of Services
There are many types of vocational rehabilitation services that are provided to injured employees. As previously stated, they vary from state to state, but they may include:
Employees have a responsibility in many states to cooperate with vocational rehabilitation efforts. If accepting the services provided with vocational rehabilitation, they must make a solid attempt to return to suitable employment. This is true of many states, but other states may have different requirements. For example, it is not required in certain states for an employee to participate in either physical or vocational rehabilitation. However, eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits may be affected negatively if the employee refuses to participate in the rehabilitations offered.
Caution: The workers’ compensation carrier has a right to reduce or possibly suspend wage-loss benefits of an employee if they do not cooperate with the rehabilitation service providers. If an employee refuses the services, other negative consequences may occur.
Responsibility of the Employer
There are many statutory and regulatory responsibilities that are related to vocational rehabilitation that your employer or their workers’ compensation carriers may be required to offer to an employee. For example, an offer of rehabilitation counseling services might be mandatory to an employee who has lost a certain amount of time from work because of their injuries. In addition, this offer must be made within a certain time frame after the threshold has been reached. The services offered will vary along with the type of injury that occurred.
It is possible that while an employee is participating in certain vocational-rehabilitation programs, the employer has to pay for more than regular wage-loss benefits. Examples of what an employer may be required to pay for include tuition, living expenses, room and board, child-care expenses, or travel expenses. Vocational rehabilitation assistance cannot be offered by every employer, however. In some jurisdictions, only qualified individuals such as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC’s), Certified Case Managers (CCM’s), or Certified Disability Management Specialists (CDMS’s) are able to provide injured employees with the benefits of vocational rehabilitation.
Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 630-932-9100!
State laws regarding vocational rehabilitation responsibilities vary for employers, insurers, and claimants. Our skilled lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can answer any questions you or a loved one may have about the right to vocational rehabilitation because of a work-related injury or sickness.