Workers’ Compensation & Vocational Rehabilitation

What are Workers’ Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?

Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act provides injured workers with the right to vocational rehabilitation services. The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to get injured workers back to suitable work as soon as possible. To be eligible an employee must have a work injury, be unable to do his or her regular job, and must be currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Vocational rehabilitation typically involves a professional vocational counselor assisting an injured worker with finding suitable employment within the worker’s qualifications, training, and work restrictions. This often includes assistance with job search efforts at the place of employment where the worker was injured or finding work at other places of employment. If job search efforts are unsuccessful, the injured worker may be entitled to 52 weeks of training for a new trade at a college, vocational school or other training facility. In some situations, the workers’ compensation agency will order an additional 52 weeks of schooling. The cost of retraining is paid for by the workers’ compensation insurance company including tuition, books, and supplies.

Must an Injured Worker Participate With Vocational Rehabilitation?

An injured worker must cooperate with vocational rehabilitation or risk losing his wage benefits. If a dispute arises between the employer and the injured worker about whether a vocational rehabilitation plan is appropriate or whether the employee is cooperating with vocational rehabilitation, either party may request a vocational rehabilitation hearing before a hearing officer.

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