Workers’ compensation benefits provide more than funds for medical bills and lost wages. The state of Illinois also uses workers’ compensation to help injured employees participate in vocational rehabilitation programs, paid for by their employer. Vocational rehabilitation programs play a critical role in helping workers return to their jobs and retain employment, particularly for people who suffer a disabling injury. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers help our clients understand their legal rights as they relate to vocational rehabilitation. We appreciate the importance of maintaining or learning workforce skills and advocate on behalf of workers entitled to these vocational programs. We possess an intricate understanding of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and how it applies to a claimant’s right to vocational rehabilitation.Receive Vocational Rehabilitation After a Disabling Job-Related Injury
After suffering a job-related injury, workers may receive assistance from a qualified professional who can help them return to the workforce. The goal of vocational rehabilitation programs is to return injured employees to suitable employment. Work injuries that lead to a decrease in earning power entitle the worker to vocational rehabilitation, if the evidence indicates that it will increase their earning capacity.
While there is no standard for determining whether vocational rehabilitation should be provided, employees are expected to make an effort to seek employment and show that they are unable to secure work within their physical restrictions. Services under vocational rehabilitation may include job exploration, counseling, job modification, and placement. Training to find new employment and actually placing workers in a new job is part of vocational rehabilitation.
Under Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, payment for vocational rehabilitation programs is to be made by the employer. This may include maintenance costs, such as living expenses, room and board, and travel costs. In most situations, the first step is to secure a medical opinion by a treating physician or health care provider that makes clear that the employee has permanent work restrictions.
Vocational rehabilitation services typically begin with an assessment, in which the worker’s expectations are evaluated, and the rehabilitation processional examines the worker’s medical care and vocational needs. An individual plan will be developed, tailored to the specific needs of the worker. In some situations, an injured worker may request education or retraining.
Injured workers who undergo vocational rehabilitation have a responsibility to cooperate with the program and attempt to return to employment. Non-compliance with rehabilitation may lead to a reduction or termination of their weekly benefits.Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago or Surrounding Areas
At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, we help workers understand their right to vocational rehabilitation according to Illinois law. Our Chicago attorneys understand the statutory and regulatory responsibilities related to work training and rehabilitation, and we can help workers seek the services to which they may be entitled. To set up a free consultation to discuss your needs, contact us online or call our office at (800) 444-1525. We also help people who need a job injury lawyer in Springfield, Aurora, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other areas of Sangamon, Cook, Winnebago, Kane, and Adams Counties.