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Rehabilitation has another meaning when it comes to workers' comp

After suffering an injury at work, you may need some physical rehabilitation in order to continue your recovery. You are more than likely entitled to this form of rehabilitation as part of your workers' compensation benefits.

However, rehabilitation has a second meaning in workers' compensation insurance. It could also mean vocational rehabilitation. If your injuries do not allow you to return to your previous job duties, you may need help in finding other gainful employment. You may also need to learn new skills in order to do so. This is where vocational rehabilitation comes into play.

Returning to work

You may attempt to return to your previous job but find that you can no longer adequately perform your duties. Your doctor may have warned you that your condition could worsen. Even if your employer adjusts your duties in an attempt to accommodate your injury, it may not be enough.

In some cases, it's obvious that you won't be able to return to work, but in others, it may not be as apparent. You may need to give it a chance so that you can provide evidence that you need vocational rehabilitation before your employer's workers' compensation insurance will agree to provide it to you.

What does vocational rehabilitation offer?

You may be entitled to one or more of the following services to help you find other employment after a work-related injury:

  • Resume creation
  • Application completion
  • On-the-job training
  • Job search assistance
  • Retraining
  • Interview preparation
  • Labor market surveys
  • Wage assessment evaluations
  • Job analyses

Other services may also be available to help you. You may be entitled to tuition and other educational expenses as part of your retraining. You may require help finding an employer who will be able to accommodate your injuries. Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from discrimination based on your injuries, it does not force employers to make accommodations for you that aren't considered reasonable.

What vocational rehabilitation services you may benefit from depends on your circumstances and current laws here in New York. Accepting vocational rehabilitation is voluntary, but refusing it could affect other benefits you receive. You may want to discuss the matter with a workers' compensation attorney first to be sure that your rights are protected and that you receive all of the benefits to which you may be entitled.

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