Is Vocational Rehabilitation Right For You?

When a worker suffers an injury, many elements come into play. Supervisors and managers want to keep on top of work status and insurance claims representatives clamor for medical updates, and sometimes, this leaves the injured worker overwhelmed.

One part of the workers’ compensation claims process is evaluating whether or not the worker is fit to perform the same job duties. Sometimes an injury creates an opportunity for a career change. Enter the vocational rehabilitation concept. When considering a different job due to physical constraints, getting help learning a new career path may or may not help.

The concept of vocational rehabilitation

When a doctor clears a worker to return to work but places limitations, it could spell the end of the same career path. Vocational rehabilitation is a concept developed to aid a displaced worker who wants to return to the workforce. It provides testing, education and job placement assistance to find a suitable replacement career. The process is lengthy and relies heavily on the worker’s desire to reenter the workforce.

The problems with vocational rehabilitation

While the concept of vocational rehabilitation may have good intentions, in practice, it may have some flaws. It is dependent on the worker going along with changing careers. For some, especially those who have settled into that path and enjoy it, the process is daunting and at times depressing.

It can be a problem for the worker to change his or her mindset and move towards finding a new job, which may lead to another problem: Does the person want to work? After an injury, the injured worker may have become settled into a new norm that he or she no longer desires to leave. Because vocational rehabilitation requires commitment and dedication to getting back out in the workforce, it will not fit for someone who does not want to.

Because the potential success of vocational rehabilitation depends heavily on the unique circumstances of the injured individual, it is often helpful to speak to an attorney about all the possible options and outcomes for a claim.