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Do you need vocational rehabilitation?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Firm News

Workers’ compensation can pay for your medical bills and lost wages while you’re out of work and recovering. But you might still be impaired even after reasonably recovering from your work-related injuries. This usually applies in cases of permanent disability.

Fortunately, Connecticut’s workers’ comp system allows workers to apply for vocational rehabilitation. What is this benefit, and when can you apply for it?

What are the services available under vocational rehabilitation?

Under state law, the Department of Aging and Disability Services offers rehabilitation services to workers with compensable injuries that prevent them from performing their most recent work. These services include:

  • Vocational evaluation and counseling
  • Workplace modification and assistive technology
  • Retraining and job placement assistance
  • Formal education or training programs

Workers who apply for rehabilitation will work with a rehabilitation coordinator. The coordinator aids workers in their rehabilitation and offers them advice on how to apply for new work.

Who is eligible for vocational rehabilitation?

To be eligible for vocational rehab, you must have a compensable workers’ comp claim. You must also have a permanent partial disability that prevents you from returning to your earlier job role.

Applying for vocational rehabilitation is best performed as soon as the treating physician decides that you can’t return to your pre-injury job.

Will you need a lawyer for vocational rehabilitation?

While you’re free to apply for vocational rehabilitation benefits, your employer and insurer can still dispute the extent of services needed. A legal professional may be able to help you by:

  • Advocating for proper vocational rehab services.
  • Challenging unfair denials or terminations of services.
  • Protecting your right to choose your rehab counselor.
  • Negotiating settlement amounts that account for future lost earnings.

In cases where your disability completely prevents you from returning to your job or results in lower earnings, you’ll need rehab. If your employer insists on skipping rehabilitation, you have legal options to turn to.

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