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What are Vocational Rehab Rights of Injured Workers

If you’re an employee injured on the job in California, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp covers more than just your medical costs. You are entitled to a portion of your wages for missed work as well as additional compensation should you become disabled long-term. California’s workers’ comp scheme also acknowledges that your injury may prevent you from doing your previous job, but you might not be entirely unable to work in a different industry. To learn how California workers’ comp handles vocational rehabilitation, continue reading. Call a knowledgeable California workers’ compensation attorney if you’ve been hurt at work and need help getting the benefits you are owed.

California Workers’ Compensation Covers Retraining

If you have been seriously injured on the job in California and find yourself unable to return to your old job, but you do not qualify for permanent disability benefits, you still have options before you. California workers’ compensation insurance covers benefits for vocational rehabilitation, also known as supplemental job displacement benefits or retraining benefits. These benefits are meant to cover your expenses for new training, education, and other services necessary to get you back into the workforce in a different career or even a different industry.

The benefits take the form of a “voucher” that can be used to pay for skill enhancement or educational training at qualified schools. The amount of the voucher depends upon when you were injured and the level of permanent disability. Workers who were injured between 2004 and 2012 can obtain a voucher between $4,000 and $10,000, depending upon the level of permanent disability. Workers who were injured on or after January 1, 2013, can obtain a $6,000 voucher.

Who is Eligible for Vocational Rehab?

The voucher is available for workers who suffer a permanent partial disability and whose employer does not offer other regular modified or alternative work. If the employer does offer a qualifying alternative, regular work, the employee cannot reject that offer and still obtain the supplemental displacement benefits voucher. A qualifying alternative offer must be a job that the employee can actually perform, that is a regular position lasting at least 12 months, that offers wages and compensation at least 85% of the worker’s previous position, and that is located within reasonable commuting distance of the worker’s residence at the time of their injury. If the job offered does not meet these qualifications, the worker can still seek vocational rehab benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services Available to California Workers

If you need retraining in order to return to work, you can use the vocational rehabilitation benefits to pay for a number of retraining and re-education services. Services that the voucher will cover include, among other things:

  • Educational costs at California schools
  • Purchasing a computer
  • Skill enhancement training
  • Certifications and licensing
  • Career counseling
  • Necessary tools and standard educational costs

If you’ve been seriously injured and need help obtaining coverage for retraining, or if you have any other questions about your workers’ compensation claim, you need dedicated legal representation on your side. Give us a call for help filing your claim or contesting a claim denial. We’re board-certified specialists in workers’ compensation. You don’t have to pay unless we recover on your behalf. Contact Invictus Law today for help.

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