Chicago Vocational Rehabilitation Attorneys
Helping Injured Workers Find Employment Again
Vocational rehabilitation is an important workers’ compensation benefit available to injured workers in Illinois. It helps you start a new job or career when you can’t return to work because of a work-related disability, even if that means you gain employment at a different company. Because not many employers want to help an employee find work elsewhere, it can be difficult to secure vocational rehabilitation benefits when filing a workers’ compensation case.
If you live in Chicago and need help getting vocational rehabilitation benefits, then please call (312) 487-2461 and connect with McHargue & Jones, LLC. Our attorneys can tell you more about your options during an initial consultation.
What Does Vocational Rehabilitation Pay For?
When an employee is injured in the scope of their employment and is later deemed unable to return to their regular job position, vocational rehabilitation benefits should become available to them. For example, if someone working in the construction industry fell and injured their back, then it would be unsafe to have them return to construction work, which is known to be physically grueling. Vocational rehabilitation benefits could help that injured construction worker find a sedentary job, like office work, be it with the construction company or a different employer altogether.
In Illinois, vocational rehabilitation usually includes or pays for:
- Job counseling: An injured worker can gain access to job counseling services from a certified job counselor, who can help teach the worker about interviewing, resume creation, professional networking, and so on.
- Job searches: To make finding a job less stressful for the injured worker, vocational rehabilitation benefits often include access to a professional job search program, site, and/or network.
- Training: If working in a new position would require further training, then the worker should be provided the necessary training courses at no cost to them. In most cases, training courses are provided free of charge, with the costs being covered beforehand by the employer’s insurer.
- Education: Arguably one of the best benefits of vocational rehabilitation, education costs can be covered if continued schooling is necessary for the injured worker to start a new career. The educational courses should be from an accredited institution, which is usually on a shortlist of options that have been pre-approved by the insurance company.
Additionally, injured workers can sometimes be paid a form of wage replacement benefit while attending training courses or schooling as part of vocational rehabilitation. This benefit will be similar to temporary total disability payments, which are equal to 66.67% of the worker’s average weekly pre-injury wages.
Limitations of Workers' Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation
Although vocational rehabilitation is certainly a great benefit for an injured worker, it is not without its stipulations and limitations. If you get vocational rehabilitation benefits, then you must follow all instructions and requirements of that benefit and its related programs. You must also work with a designated vocational counselor and comply with their directions. Failing to adhere to all requirements of your specific vocational rehabilitation program – such as actively searching for a new job at least once a week – can disqualify you from receiving any future benefits.
Workers' Comp Vocational Rehab FAQ:
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for Vocational Rehab?
Getting approved for vocational rehabilitation shouldn't take long once you have recovered from your injuries as much as possible. Once your doctor clears you to begin pursuing vocational rehab, you can reach out to your employer or have your attorney reach out on your behalf and request this benefit.
What Is Vocational Evaluation in Workers' Compensation?
This evaluation may also be referred to as an "Earning Power Assessment." This is a meeting in which an expert will attempt to find you a job within your realm of skillsets while still keeping in mind the limitations that your injury presents. If you wish, you can have your workers' comp attorney present at this meeting to ensure that your interests are fully represented.
How Many Months Is Voc Rehab?
The length of your rehabilitation training will vary depending on several factors:
- The type of program or training you are receiving
- Whether you are being placed with your previous employer or with a new employer
Call Our Firm If You Have Any Question
McHargue & Jones, LLC is here to help you fully understand your options through vocational rehabilitation. Our Chicago lawyers are also ready to help you demand this important workers’ compensation benefit if it has been denied for any reason. With us by your side, you can feel more confident that you will be back on your feet and working again before you know it.