Injured workers who are receiving workers’ compensation benefits from their Minnesota employer may be looking for ways to get back to work quickly, even though the injuries may be permanent. Whether it is due to boredom or because they need to bring in more income, a vocational rehabilitation program can provide the resources necessary.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, vocational rehab programs are for workers whose injuries may not allow them to return to their previous position due to work restrictions. The goal of the program is to provide a compatible job with pay comparable to the previous job. Rehab services are usually not available unless the worker is at maximum medical improvement and has disabilities that require limitations in the workplace.

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, the workers’ compensation insurance company sends a disability status report to the employee if it has been 90 days since the injury and the employee is not well enough to work or if temporary disability estimates to go longer than 13 weeks. This report either refers for a consultation for rehab or requests a waiver, in which the employer offers employment that meets work restrictions.

The specific services an employee receives from a rehab program will vary. Some of the options include:

  • Vocational testing and evaluation
  • Counseling
  • Job development, modification and placement
  • Labor-market survey
  • Skills training for job searches
  • On-the-job retraining and training

Other workers’ compensation benefits, such as wage-loss and medical, continue as a worker goes through a vocational rehab program and often until the employee finds gainful employment.