When Does an Injured Worker Qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation in Illinois?

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illinois workers compensation lawyer While many workers who are injured on the job eventually recover and are able to return to their position, there are also workers who have sustained an injury that is so serious, they are left with long-term or permanent damage and are no longer able to perform the duties that are required for their job. In these situations, the worker may qualify for vocational counseling and training to assist them in finding a new occupation. If you have suffered a work-related injury that has left you unable to return to your job, the following is a brief overview of the benefits that may be available. For more specific information regarding the circumstances of your situation, contact a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Under Illinois law, when a worker is injured on the job and that injury has left them with some degree of disability, they are entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. Their employer – through the employer’s insurance company – is liable for the costs of training and education that is required. In some cases, the employee may choose a whole new career, such as a permanently injured construction worker going to school to become certified as an industrial arts teacher.

The law also requires the employer to continue providing workers’ compensation benefits to the employee while they are receiving that training/education. This is usually contingent on the employee showing consistent progress in whatever training program they are enrolled in.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that an employer is required to pay for vocational training only when it has been deemed medically “necessary.” The employee will have to prove that this training is necessary. The degree of difficulty that can entail often requires the advocacy of an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases.

Proof That May Be Required

In most cases, when an injured worker claims they cannot return to their job, the insurance company will bring in a vocational counselor, either in-house or one it contracts with to perform an assessment. If the injured worker is unsure of what profession they would like to go into or what ones they are physically able to perform because of any limitations caused by their injury, the vocational counselor’s job is to help the worker answer that question. This is usually done through interviews and testing.

Some of the criteria the insurance company will consider when presented with an injured employee’s plan for their professional future include:

  • The work-life expectancy of the injured employee
  • The employee’s current education and skills that could be used to find a new profession without the need for training or education
  • Cost of the program the employee has chosen
  • Likelihood of finding employment in that field once the training is complete
  • The ability and motivation level of the employee
  • Any reduction in the employee’s earning capacity because of the injury

Contact an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you have suffered a work-related injury that has left you unable to return to your job, contact a seasoned Chicago vocational rehabilitation attorney to find out what additional training and education benefits you may qualify for. Call the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.



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