In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, vocational rehabilitation (VR) services in workers’ compensation cases is a program run by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) designed to return injured workers to work so they can earn as close as possible to what they were earning before suffering a debilitating injury. Unlike other workers’ compensation programs and services, VR services assist with all non-medical needs of injured workers who need to get back in the workforce.
Some of these vocational rehabilitation services include evaluating your working capacity, vocational testing and training, counseling, guidance, workplace modifications necessary for you to return to work, retraining, and help finding a new job.
DIA, and more specifically the Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OEVR), will review your medical records, educational background, and employment history when making a determination, whether the agency believes you will benefit from vocational rehabilitation services. Candidates that are typically provided VR services will already have a worker’s compensation insurance company that has accepted liability, be medically stable, suffer from permanent functional limitations, and a finding must be made that VR is both feasible and cost effective for the agency to provide such services.
Workers’ compensation attorneys in Boston at the Law Offices of Jeffery S. Glassman, LLC note you may receive a notice to meet with a VR services officer during the workers’ compensation benefits process. If you receive such a notice, you should speak with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss what will occur.
It is very important that you do not disregard this notice or otherwise fail to attend the VR services meeting. If you miss the meeting, this may be cause to terminate workers’ compensation benefits you are receiving, and you do not want that to happen.
During this meeting, DIA will determine if you are a suitable candidate for vocational rehabilitation. If you are found a suitable candidate for vocational rehabilitation, and you refuse to participate in the process, your benefits may be reduced by your employer’s insurance company after obtaining permission from DIA.
It is very beneficial for claimants to have an attorney representing them during this process. Unlike DIA and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company, the attorney will be the only one truly on your side fighting for your rights to workers’ compensation benefits and will work to prevent you from being forced into an occupation in which you are not trained and not physically capable of handling.
Sometimes the VR process will involve sending a disabled worker to school to learn an entirely different occupation if it is not feasible for the worker to return to his or her prior job even with modifications to account for physical disability. While retraining is considered an option of last resort by OEVR, it does happen on a regular basis, and you should discuss your feelings about this process with your workers’ compensation attorney.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers' compensation claim: 1-(617) 367-2900.Work Injury - 1-(617) 367-2900 - Free Consultation