In Michigan, injured workers are entitled to assistance in returning to work. Section 319 of the Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act grants injured workers the right to vocational rehabilitation benefits, among other benefits.
Vocational Rehabilitation – Training to Return to the Workforce
Vocational rehabilitation is help getting back to work. Through vocational rehabilitation, an injured worker’s employer may make minor changes to the worker’s job requirements or workspace so the worker can return to work despite an ongoing problem or permanent change in capability.
If it is not possible for an injured worker to return to his or her former employer, the injured worker is assigned a rehabilitation counselor to guide the worker through vocational re-training. With re-training, the injured worker may find suitable new employment or procure additional training for a new job.
What Rehabilitation Services Are Offered?
Vocational rehabilitation is tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs. Rehabilitation counselors help workers decide which services are best for them, and the services may include one or more of the following:
- Vocational Assessment: Evaluation of a worker’s skills, aptitudes, interests and abilities and guidance in selecting an appropriate job
- Job-Placement Assistance: Help in matching a worker’s capabilities with a suitable employer and instruction on job-search techniques
- On-The-Job Training: Assistance in arranging on-the-job training with an employer willing to hire the worker after the training period
- Educational Expenses: Up to 104 weeks of additional education including the cost of tuition, fees, books and necessary supplies
- Transportation Expenses: Reimbursement for travel expenses to and from rehabilitation appointments, training programs or education institutions
Vocational Rehabilitation Eligibility
Injured workers are eligible for vocational rehabilitation if two conditions are met:
- The worker has suffered a work-related injury or illness that prevents him or her from returning to work with the previous employer
- The worker is currently receiving workers compensation benefits
Vocational rehabilitation is most successful when it is begun promptly. If you are receiving workers compensation benefits, you should contact your employer, its insurance company or the Michigan Workers Compensation Agency for more information regarding vocational rehabilitation rights. If you have difficulty receiving vocational rehabilitation services, you should contact a knowledgeable workers compensation attorney.