Helping Workers Get Back on Their Feet After a Workplace Injury
Workers who have been severely injured may not be able to return to the jobs they had before their workplace accident. However, the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) may help them to find new occupations. The OVR seeks to increase the employability of disabled individuals by providing a variety of services, such as vocational evaluation, training, and placement assistance.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can assist workers in getting vocational rehabilitation from the OVR, as well as any other workers’ compensation benefits they need to return to work as soon as safely possible.
Termination of Wage Loss Benefits
Once a worker obtains a new job, the insurance company is no longer obligated to pay wage loss benefits. Therefore, an employer’s workers’ compensation carrier will typically request that injured employees participate in vocational rehabilitation. However, workers are entitled to receive wage loss benefits while pursuing vocational rehabilitation, provided that they fulfill certain requirements.
Vocational counselors are experts hired by the insurance company to determine what jobs the disabled worker can to perform under his or her medical limitations. They typically assess the individual’s earning capacity by interviewing the worker and looking at their medical records. The expert may then prepare a labor market survey, which will list potential jobs that the worker can perform.
The jobs do not have to actually be available, nor does the worker need to be hired in order for employers to request reduction or termination of wage loss benefits. All they must show is that there are jobs available that the worker is capable of performing.
It is important that workers apply for the jobs that are available within their medical restrictions, go to their interviews, and cooperate with their vocational counselors or else their vocational rehabilitation benefits may be withdrawn. In Pennsylvania, workers may receive up to two years of vocational rehabilitation.
What Types of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Are Available?
The OVR provides various services that are available to workers as determined on an individual basis. Some services are designed to assist workers in overcoming their disabilities, while others help them to prepare for a career.
The OVR counselor conducts face-to-face interviews with workers to gain assistance in developing an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), which will outline a worker’s career objectives and responsibilities as well as any relevant services and providers.
Some types of vocational rehabilitation services that workers may receive include:
Diagnostic Services: Workers may be eligible to take examinations designed to help them better understand their disability and the types of assistance they will need going forward.
Placement Assistance: OVR counselors may provide workers with job leads, assistance with filling out applications, and interview advice. They may also inform employers about available tax credits and hiring incentives to increase workers’ chances of securing employment.
Restoration Services: This type of service is available to workers who require physical therapy or medical equipment such as wheelchairs and automobile hand controls in order to gain employment.
Support Services: Workers may be eligible to receive support services including home and job site modifications, occupational tools, and personal care assistance, such as room, board, and transportation costs, to help them participate in the vocational rehabilitation program.
Training: This type of vocational rehabilitation includes technical training, as well as academic training (college), and independent living skills to help workers prepare to re-enter the workforce.
Philadelphia, PA Work Accident Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Can Help You Get the Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits You Need
If you were injured in a work accident, contact a Philadelphia work accident lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our experienced attorneys can help you obtain all the benefits to which you are entitled, including vocational rehabilitation services. We have represented workers throughout Pennsylvania for over 40 years. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
We proudly represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.