Vocational rehabilitation programs can play a vital role in helping workers return to their jobs and get back on their own feet. If an injured worker is unable to return to his or her previous employment position due to serious injuries, they may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. At Therman Law Offices, our Schaumburg and Wheaton workers’ compensation attorneys can thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and help you fight for the benefits that you deserve, including your medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and vocational rehabilitation.The Role of Vocational Rehabilitation
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, workers who are injured or suffer a work-related illness may be able to obtain various benefits, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and even vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is a process that helps injured workers rebuild the skills that they need to return to their job or develop new skills to enter a new line of work. In other words, vocational rehabilitation often involves training for another occupation, including job search counseling. An injured worker may also be eligible for a financial benefit called a maintenance benefit.
The basic idea behind vocational rehabilitation benefits is to maintain the worker’s standard of living as they prepare to join the workforce in a different capacity. The actual vocational rehabilitation benefits to which an injured worker will be entitled are determined by the worker’s specific injury. Common types of vocational training services include:
- On-the-job training;
- Resume and job application services;
- Interview coaching;
- Job search help;
- Educational assistance;
- Interview coaching;
- Ergonomics assessment;
- Direct job placement;
- Americans with Disabilities reasonable-accommodation assistance.
Under Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, it is possible that while an employee is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program, the employer will pay for certain maintenance costs, such as living expenses, room and board, child care expenses, and travel costs.
In Illinois, employers are required to evaluate the potential need for rehabilitation services when it can be reasonably determined that the injured worker will not be able to return to his or her pre-injury position or when the injured worker has been unable to work for 120 consecutive days. This initial evaluation addresses the need for a vocational rehabilitation plan. If a plan is deemed necessary, a copy of it is provided to the injured worker and also filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. It is important that injured workers receiving vocational rehabilitation benefits actively participate in the plan and cooperate with the services provided. Lack of participation or cooperation can result in the reduction or termination of vocational benefits.
If a claim is denied, an employee has the right to appeal the decision by submitting a claim to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. In such cases, the injured worker has the burden of establishing that he or she is eligible for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. If the worker is not satisfied with the result, he or she may appeal before a panel of three commissioners on the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Board. If this does not work, the next level of appeal is a circuit court appeal, followed by an appellate court appeal and ultimately an Illinois Supreme Court appeal. It is important to note that there are strict deadlines for making appeals, and a failure to abide by those deadlines could compromise the validity of your claim or cause your claim to be dismissed.Seek Assistance from a Workplace Accident Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg
Workplace injuries in many industries, from manufacturing to health care, can lead to serious and long-term harm that interferes with a person’s ability to return to work. If you have suffered any work-related injury or illness, we can help. At Therman Law Offices, our lawyers understand how to navigate complex Illinois workers’ compensation cases. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. We assist claimants in cities such as Schaumburg, Wheaton, Bloomingdale, Roselle, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Villa Park, Addison, and Elmhurst. For a free consultation with an attorney, do not hesitate to call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.