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Vocational Rehabilitation in Workers Comp Claims

Training for different types of jobsThere are times when a worker is injured on the job and cannot return to their previous position due to the extent or type of injury. According to Illinois' Workers Compensation Act, these employees might be eligible to get vocational training that their employer pays to help them pursue another type of position.

Having an experienced Illinois Workers Compensation attorney on your side if you are injured at work can ensure that you receive the maximum amount of benefits and compensation for your injury, including vocational training, if applicable.

If you are an injured worker and believe that you are entitled to vocational training benefits, contact our Chicago office at (888) 424-5757 for a free review of your case. The Illinois personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, help our clients get the full financial benefits they are entitled to receive under Illinois law.

What Vocational Training Under The IL Workers Compensation Act Includes

The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission deems vocational training as one of the benefits that employees are entitled to when injured on the job.

If the injury prevents the employee from performing their previous job, the employer might be responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation access to do another type of work.

This benefit can include:

  • Access to a certified vocational counselor
  • Counseling for job searches
  • Access to a job search program
  • Retraining, including education at an accredited learning institution concluding vocational institution, business school, or college

Depending on the individual circumstance, this benefit can help an injured worker find a new job, be trained for another position, and in some cases, be eligible for paid education to learn other skills.

Employees must comply with the rehabilitation program and work with their approved vocational counselor to find employment or be at risk of losing their right to receive retraining or educational compensation and maintenance benefits while receiving vocational services.

An Illinois compensation benefits attorney familiar with Workers Compensation in Illinois can help their client get the most out of this benefit and fight for additional retraining or education if needed.

Job Training Programs

After job training programs, available vocational careers teach potential employees the hands-on experience they need in a professional environment. However, some vocational training and educational programs are prohibited due to their high cost, often rivaling a four-year college.

Fortunately, workers compensation benefits are available in Illinois to injured workers who can no longer return to their previous occupation.

Typical vocational occupations available in the local community include:

  • Automotive repair
  • Certified nurse assistant
  • Dental assistant
  • Dental hygienist
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Mammography technician
  • Medical technician
  • Nurse aides
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Radiologist
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Sonogram technician
  • Surgical technician
  • Veterinary assistant
  • Veterinary technician
  • Vocational nurse

Highly skilled Illinois vocational jobs may include welders, electricians, plumbers, machine techs, pipefitters, carpenters, web designers, court reporters, paralegals, and civil engineers.

Job Search

The job search is the most challenging part of getting back to the workforce. Finding the best resources and information for employment without the proper educational tools or skills can be stressful.

Many individuals who need to find employment cannot tap into a network of community individuals with access to the best job opportunities available. Many individuals receiving Workers Compensation benefits were highly skilled in their career when the accident occurred.

Now they face months or years in an accredited vocational training program providing the information assistance, and experience they need to start a different occupation.

During an interview for the job, they must play up their previous experience, downplay their lack of newly-acquired job skills, and embrace the opportunity. Older workers looking for the next place of employment have even more significant challenges when competing against a younger workforce, some just years out of high school.

Vocational Rehab Basics

Individuals undergoing vocational rehab learn to provide varying services to employers in the community. Many of the workers are impaired through accidents or incidents that occurred in the workplace.

They want to return to their formal occupation but must learn newly-developed skills based on their limitations.

For example, a machinist may lose an arm or hand in a workplace accident and be unable to return to their previous position. The workers newly-acquired disabilities may restrict them from participating in specific industries.

Vocational rehabilitation provides training and assistance to injured workers eager to transition to another occupation while learning how to adapt to the newly-acquired limitations. Vocational training and educational programs typically tailor their instruction to a specific worker’s needs, limits, and restrictions.

The program may provide a varying assortment of services, including skill assessment, mobility evaluations, occupational training assistance, additional college or vocational education, career counseling, resume writing assistance, and other services required for successful employment.

A vocational rehab school counselor can provide access to available employment in the local area, encouraging new employers to follow a rehabilitation plan based on their new employee's limitations and abilities. Changes might require a workstation redesign that ideally fits the injured worker.

For example, an employee missing a hand might require a specialized telephone, machinery, computer, or keyboard design for easy operation. Other vocational training programs help identify the needed education and certifications required in a specialized field and help injured workers find skill-qualified occupations after training.

Accepting a Light-Duty Job

In some cases, the employer will offer the injured worker light-duty jobs to come back to work in a different department, position, or location. The injured employee can get back to work with restrictions.

Some light-duty jobs include working in the same position that no longer has physical tasks.

In many cases, the employer is pushing to minimize the amount of compensation the injured employee is entitled to receive while maximizing their income and lowering the business' insurance premium costs.

In some states, including Florida, New York, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, the employer's insurance company can file a position with the Worker's Compensation Commission to entirely stop the injured victim's benefits.

Fortunately, in Illinois, temporary disability benefits cannot be cut if the injured employee refuses to take the light-duty opportunity to continue working.

Lawyers Committed Getting You Your Full Benefits When Vocational Training Is Necessary After An Illinois Work Injury Case

No one ever expects to suffer an injury at work– let alone one that prohibits you from returning to your profession. Career-ending injuries are relatively uncommon.

However, when they do occur, the Chicago compensation benefits attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to protecting injured workers' rights and take steps to ensure that employers and insurance carriers provide the benefits that they are required to under Illinois law.

Have you suffered an injury at work and are unsure if you can return to your pre-injury position? Contact an attorney who can advise you of the law and how you might be impacted. Call us anytime at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case without any cost or obligation on your end.

Our law office currently follows CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 social distancing guidelines to ensure our clients remained safe.


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