Vocational rehabilitation requirements in Virginia Workers’ Compensation cases can often be confusing, contentious and lead to needless conflict and litigation between the injured worker and the insurance carrier.
If you are an injured worker, here are a few things to keep in mind when faced with vocational rehabilitation:
- You should not be asked to job search or engage in vocational rehabilitation until you are medically released for work. Prior to being released to light duty, the employee is not required to job search.
- Rehabilitation providers should attempt to find employment consistent with your pre-injury position and salary level, and take into account such factors as distance, transportation costs, and actual earnings from the potential job.
- You should not be advised to withhold information about your injury or job capabilities during job interviews or on applications. But you may not discuss them in such a way as to sabotage the interview or application process.
- Employees are not required to give personal or financial information, such as number of children, spouse’s employment or credit history, unless such information relates to a bona fide occupational qualification for employment. You are required to disclose whether you are legally eligible for employment, have a valid driver’s license, or have been convicted of a felony, and to provide your previous employment history.
- You are entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in rehabilitation efforts. Costs incurred for telephone calls, photocopying, postage and obtaining DMV and other records are also reimbursable, if requested by the rehabilitation provider or a potential employer.
- When transportation is a problem, the vocational rehabilitation provider/carrier must make reasonable arrangements is ensure the employee’s attendance at meetings and interviews. This may include forwarding mileage money in advance or arranging transportation, if requested.
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