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Qualifying for Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance Payments

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Qualifying for Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance PaymentsSuffering a permanent disability from a workplace injury may prevent you from resuming your previous job duties because of your physical limitations. Vocational rehabilitation trains you in new job skills that will qualify you for a job with more technical or interpersonal duties. An employer is required to offer you vocational rehabilitation when appropriate, and your workers’ compensation claim can give you maintenance during your rehabilitation that is equal in value to your Temporary Total Disability benefits. However, your employer may deny your maintenance if it disagrees with you about whether it must provide vocational rehabilitation.

Recent Case

In the case of Beverage v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the claimant and his former employer disputed whether the employer was required to provide vocational rehabilitation and pay maintenance. The claimant had developed a degenerative disc disease that prevented him from performing a job that required him to lift cases of beer that could weigh as much as 50 pounds. The claimant requested vocational rehabilitation, but the employer instead invited him to apply for a warehouse manager position. The claimant did not apply because he did not believe he was qualified for the position. As part of his workers’ compensation benefits, an arbitrator awarded the claimant nearly 163 weeks of maintenance that started after his TTD benefits ended. A trial court nullified that decision because the claimant had not participated in a vocational rehabilitation program or searched for a job during that period.

Qualifications

The claimant stated that his former employer violated Illinois law by denying his request for vocational rehabilitation. The court responded that vocational rehabilitation was not necessary in this case because:

  • Doctors had cleared the claimant to return to work with some physical restrictions; and
  • The employer believed that the claimant was qualified for the warehouse manager position that he refused to apply for.

The claimant hurt his case by apparently not taking independent action to further his vocational training or apply for a new job. The court was looking for documentable evidence that the claimant was attempting to return to work. Instead of taking action, the claimant started collecting Social Security disability benefits.

Contact a Crystal Lake Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In order to collect certain workers’ compensation benefits, you may need to show that you are making a good faith effort to find employment within your physical limitations. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you document your efforts to continue working after your injury. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/WorkersComp/2019/2180090WC.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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