Workers' compensation insurance provides accident victims with more than just medical care and disability wages. If you are unable to return to your previous job because of the work-related injury you sustained, you may also be eligible for other benefits. Read on to find out more about workers' compensation rehabilitation benefits.
Maximum Medical Improvement
The above term may be used to describe an injury that is not expected to get any better. When you have been determined to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI) by a workers' compensation doctor, you are not likely able to return to your previous job. An MMI ruling means that your level of benefits changes from a weekly disability wage and medical expenses to a lump sum settlement and other benefits. Among these benefits might be rehabilitative services.
With an eye toward training disabled workers, vocational services take into account your level of functioning and evaluate you for finding other suitable employment. Not only does getting a job take some of the burden off of the workers' comp insurance carrier's shoulders, but it provides disabled workers with all the positive aspects of earning a living again.
Common Vocational Rehabilitation Services
It should be mentioned that in some cases, vocational rehabilitative services are provided by the state or local government and not necessarily the workers' compensation carrier. When it comes time to negotiate your workers' compensation lump sum benefit settlement, be sure your attorney gets the most possible from the settlement by advising you on what you may be eligible for. Vocational rehabilitation provides the following set of benefits, some of which may or may not be available to you in your location:
- A physical evaluation that determines how able you are to perform certain types of work.
- Testing to determine your interest in various careers.
- Mental health counseling.
- Career counseling.
- Evaluation of your skills, experience, education and training, etc.
- Job search and job placement assistance.
- Resume assistance.
- Training for a new job.
- Work station modifications with your disability in mind.
Taking Advantage of Vocational Rehabilitation
You usually must have a referral to the rehabilitation agency before being seen. Often, the workers' comp insurance carrier will refer you to services in your area. You will be assigned a caseworker who will coordinate your services and act as a vocational counselor. Working with the counselor, a plan to achieve certain job-oriented goals is created. You should keep in mind that these services are of a limited nature, both in time and in scope. You may only have a few months, for example, with which to complete the program. To learn more about this service, speak to your workers' compensation law office.