L&I Vocational Rehabilitation
If your injury continues to completely inhibit your ability to work, Vocational Rehabilitation (job retraining) may be available as a Washington workers’ compensation benefit.
What are Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?
Sometimes referred to as Vocational training, Vocational Rehabilitation is a benefit sometimes offered to an injured worker in lieu of other benefits, such as a pension.
The process consists of L&I referring you to a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) who will assess your abilities and decide what other jobs you can do. Typically, you are then offered training in a line of work different from the one you performed at your job where the injury took place, and in line with the work restrictions resulting from the injury.
Is Vocational Rehabilitation Good or Bad?
Vocational retraining can seem like a good thing at face value–you are given a chance to learn a new job or continue working and provide an income for your family. However, if you are sent to a VRC, be very cautious.
This is a tactic by L&I to certify you as able to work in some other line of work. For example, L&I has been known to assess a worker and claim they are able to work as a “cashier” even when the worker is clearly unable to perform that job, or any other job due to their injuries. VRCs can be adept at their jobs of classifying workers at various positions, and the VRC’s work is often calculated to ensure that injured workers do not receive other benefits to which they are entitled, such as a pension.
If you are referred to a VRC, it’s important to seek legal advice immediately. Emery Reddy will fight for your interests when the Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer denies compensation, benefits or the medical care you deserve for your injuries.