What is Vocational Rehabilitation and how would it affect my workers’ compensation benefits?

When injured workers cannot return to their regular job but can work under restrictions, they can receive vocational rehabilitation. Generally, the insurance companies would assign a vocational counselor to work with the injured worker. The overall goal of vocational rehabilitation is to return the injured worker to as close to his or her pre-injury earning as possible.

In theory, this sounds great. However, in practice it is not (like many things with the insurance company). Keep in mind, all of the vocational counselors work for the insurance company and there will probably come a time when the insurance company is tired of paying for these services. And this can pressure a vocational counselor to say the injured worker is not cooperating with their services because by doing so, the insurance company can suspend paying benefits to the injured worker.

If you are on vocational rehabilitation and are working with a vocational counselor, make sure you document all of your job search efforts and keep notes of your meetings and conversations with the counselor. By keeping record of all your job search efforts (telephone calls you have made, computer searches, jobs applications, interviews/meetings, etc.), you can use them at a hearing some day if the insurance company claims you did not cooperate with the vocational counselor.

In some specific Virginia cases, in order to keep receiving the benefits from the insurance company, the injured worker would have to prove he or she is looking for work within his or her restrictions (even if the insurance company doesn’t hire a vocational counselor). This is called marketing your residual capacity. There are specific guidelines as to what constitutes marketing your residual capacity. Each case is unique. And that also goes for most vocational rehabilitation cases.

Call us today at (202) 393-3320 to make sure your protecting all your rights as a worker. Don’t let the insurance companies set you up to stop your hard earned workers comp benefits.