The Role of Vocational Rehabilitation in Workers Comp

If you sustained a workplace injury that is impacting your ability to return to work, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation under the Florida workers comp system. Read on to find out how vocational rehabilitation works and how an Orlando workers comp attorney can advise you if this is the right program for you.

What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Vocational rehabilitation is a process that enables individuals with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive, and emotional impairments or health conditions to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment.

In the context of workers compensation, vocational rehabilitation services are designed to return the injured worker to employment as quickly and safely as possible.

Legal Aspects to Consider

In Florida, the Division of Workers’ Compensation within the Department of Financial Services is responsible for administering the workers compensation system, including vocational rehabilitation services. Under Florida law, injured workers are entitled to receive necessary remedial treatment, care, and attendance for as long as the nature of the injury or the process of recovery requires.

If an injured worker cannot return to their previous employment due to their injuries, they may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. These services can include vocational counseling, transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills training, job placement, on-the-job training, and formal retraining.

Steps to Obtain Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits in Florida

In Florida, vocational rehabilitation is governed by Section 440.491 of the Florida Statutes. Eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services is determined by a set of specific criteria.

Presence of a Disability

The individual must have a disability. This disability can be functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive, or emotional.

Requirement of Services

The individual requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in, or retain gainful employment.

Application for Services

Any person who has a disability can apply for VR services. Once the individual has decided that VR is right for them, and that they want to keep or start working, VR staff will help them apply for services.

workers comp offers retraining for a new job

Eligibility Decision

The counselor needs to learn whether the individual is eligible for VR services that will help them go to work. The individual can help their counselor decide by bringing information from doctors, schools, jobs, or other people who know about them1. If the individual does not have current information, the counselor will help them get needed evaluations at no cost.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If the individual receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they have a disability, they are eligible for VR services that may lead to a job.

Possible Wait List Category

Based on this information, the counselor will decide whether the individual is a person with the most significant disability (Category 1), a person with a significant disability (Category 2), or a person with a disability (Category 3). Depending on the category assigned, the individual may be put on a waiting list for services.

Benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation offers numerous benefits to injured workers. It provides them with the tools and skills needed to regain control over their professional lives. This process fosters independence, boosting confidence and self-esteem. Moreover, it can also lead to the discovery of new career paths that the injured worker might not have considered before.

For employers, vocational rehabilitation can help reduce the cost of workers compensation claims. By helping injured workers return to work, employers can save on the costs associated with long-term disability payments.

Contact an Orlando Workers Comp Lawyer for Guidance

Vocational rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the workers compensation system in Florida. By contacting an Orlando workers compensation lawyer at Work Injury Rights you can understand the legal aspects of vocational rehabilitation and whether it’s the right choice for you.

We can help injured workers navigate the system and obtain the benefits they are entitled to under the law. Contact us at 954-324-COM for a free case review.