Serious work injuries alter people’s lives, and workers and their families often have to adjust in ways they never expected. Workers’ compensation is available to provide benefits during this difficult time, whether your injury is temporary or permanent.
If the injury prevents you from returning to your previous position, then you might consider vocational rehabilitation. Let’s go over some vocational rehab services and requirements under Maryland law.
If you think vocational rehab might be right for you, then it is a good idea to discuss the matter with a workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can advise you of your rights and help you get approval for services. Rehab services must be approved either by the insurer or the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. In the event that an insurer denies your request for rehab services, your attorney can take the matter up with the commission.
Once you’ve been approved for vocational rehab, you’ll be assigned either to a public or a private rehab counselor. Maryland law requires that private counselors be registered, and public counseling is provided through the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS).
You’ll first meet with the counselor to discuss your background, your injury and your interests — those things that pertain to the sort of new job you might have. Then the counselor will establish a plan with individual goals that are relevant to your job search. If you and the counselor agree on the plan, then you can move forward with a job search or training. If you disagree about the plan, then the issue can be taken to the workers’ compensation commission.
To establish your eligibility for vocational rehab, you’ll need an up-to-date medical report. Retraining for up to two years may also be available if the first plan doesn’t lead to placement in a new position.
Maryland workers’ compensation law offers protections and support to people who have been injured in the course of their employment. However, workers often need legal counsel to make the most of those benefits. In one of our recent posts, we discussed the range of benefits available to injured employees in Maryland.
Source: Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, “Voc Rehab Services for Injured Workers in Maryland,” Accessed Aug. 21, 2014