L&I Vocational Rehabilitation
If you’ve been injured at work and have an open L&I Claim for Workers’ Compensation, you have a right to L&I Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits.
If your injury continues to completely inhibit your ability to work, Vocational Rehabilitation (job retraining) may be available as a Washington Workers’ Compensation benefit.
Vocational Rehabilitation is a benefit sometimes offered to you as 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.
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 as able to work as a “cashier” even when the worker is clearly unable to perform that job or any other job. 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.