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What is vocational rehabilitation?

Most injured workers in Michigan are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance. This means their medical care is paid for and they also receive compensation for lost pay. One important aspect of workers' comp that not all employees are aware of is vocational rehabilitation. This helps employees get back to work quicker and is beneficial both to them and their employers.

According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, vocational rehabilitation is available for workers who have an illness or injury related to work that makes them unable to return to their previous positions. The rehab services vary depending on each employee's situation, and it works best when implemented early on.

Rehab services may include:

  • Assessment of interests, skills and physical abilities
  • Job search guidance and helpful techniques
  • On-the-job training
  • Job training for up to 52 weeks
  • Transportation reimbursement for rehab-related activities
  • Assistance with job placement

If an employee gets a job that does not pay as much as the previous position, he or she may receive partial compensation benefits to help cover the pay gap.

According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, the employer should automatically offer vocational rehab services to an injured employee. If not, the employee can request it. If an employer does offer these services and the employee refuses, other benefits may be suspended.

Whether rehabilitation is a quick and easy adjustment of the worker's current work space or it is a longer, more in-depth process, effective management has been shown to decrease the worker's suffering and lower the employer's costs. 

 

 

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BARRY D. ADLER
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