How Do I Get Vocational Rehabilitation Services
If you are unable to return to your previous employment because of a permanent disability or restriction, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services which may include job placement assistance or retraining.
To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services you must:
- Have a compensable work related injury for which vocational rehabilitation benefits have not been settled through a compromise agreement
- Submit to the employer at time of injury documentation of your work restrictions so that the employer may determine if work is available within your permanent restrictions and make an offer of "suitable" employment. Within 60 days your employer should determine if work is available.
NOTE: A "suitable" position is one that pays at least 90% of the wage at time of injury and meets the permanent work restrictions established at the end of the healing period.
- Be unemployed or employed in a less than "suitable" position
- Have a determination of your eligibility for vocational services by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
You will receive vocational rehabilitation services from either a public or private vocational rehabilitation program. The DVR is the public program and will provide services if your disability is very severe and is consistent with the order in which it is providing services. If the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation cannot provide the needed services, you will be served within a private vocational rehabilitation network.
To obtain vocational rehabilitation services from the public or the private program:
First, contact the DVR for a determination of eligibility. A vocational rehabilitation counselor will work with you to assess your functional limitations and determine if you need services in order be employed. You will then receive a statement indicating that you are either eligible or ineligible.
Second, the DVR will inform you if it will provide services directly or will refer you to the Worker's Compensation Division's Vocational Rehabilitation Unit. If the DVR is unable to provide services, the Worker's Compensation Division will provide a list of certified private vocational rehabilitation specialists from which you may choose to obtain your services.
If there is no dispute regarding the need for vocational rehabilitation (retraining), the insurer or self-insured employer is responsible for paying your weekly TTD benefit for each week you are in school. The insurer or self-insured employer is also required to reimburse mileage for travel to and from school, and to provide a meal allowance.
If the DVR provides any financial aid or any other services to you [e.g., developing and writing your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)], the insurer or self-insured employer is not required to pay or to contribute any monies toward the cost of tuition, books, fees, etc.
If your vocational services are provided by a private vocational specialist, the insurer or self-insured employer is responsible for paying the specialist's fee and the cost of tuition, books, fees and other expenses related to the retraining program.