Most people know that the workers’ compensation system will cover their medical expenses after a work-related injury. But few people know that the workers’ compensation system also provides vocational rehabilitation benefits to eligible workers. Here’s what you need to know about these benefits:
What Are Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?
Vocational rehabilitation benefits are awarded to workers who are unable to return to their pre-injury job due to their injuries. These benefits are awarded to help these workers successfully return to the workforce.
For example, let’s say a construction worker loses his arm in a work-related accident. He is no longer able to perform his job duties as a result of the amputation. Because he cannot return to his pre-injury work, he may receive vocational rehabilitation benefits to help him get back in the workforce.
Types of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
The services that are provided in vocational rehabilitation can vary on a case-by-case basis. This is because each worker’s situation is unique, so the services are tailored to fit their individual needs. But in general, vocational rehabilitation services include the vocational evaluation, retraining, and job placement. Together, these services help injured workers train for and transition to new jobs that they are capable of performing despite their injuries.
How to Request Vocational Rehabilitation Services
In Oklahoma, injured workers who are eligible for permanent partial disability benefits may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. You must request these benefits within 60 days from the date you were notified that you would not be able to return to your pre-injury position. If you request these benefits, the Vocational Rehabilitation Director that manages the program will review your case to determine if these services would benefit you.
Vocational rehabilitation services are typically not available until you have reached maximum medical improvement. However, in some cases, the administrative law judge may order these services before you have reached maximum medical improvement. This usually occurs in cases where the treating physician is confident that you will not be able to return to your pre-injury work.
If your request for these benefits is approved, you may receive rehabilitation and training for up to 52 weeks. This gives you enough time to complete training and find employment with the help of vocational experts.
Are you permanently disabled as a result of a work-related injury? If so, seek legal representation from Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys work tirelessly to ensure you are awarded vocational rehabilitation benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.