How Can I Get the Most Out of My Rehabilitation Training?

Worker’s Compensation Rehabilitation Training

For those receiving workers compensation services, it may become difficult or even impossible for the injured worker to return to the job that he or she was performing at the time of the illness or injury. Permanent work restrictions may make it necessary for the worker to obtain employment in an entirely different line of work. In these cases, the State of Nevada allows for vocational rehabilitation for the worker to attain new job skills for sufficient employment despite any limitations imposed by the disabilities. Although training for a new career may not be what the worker had intended, it is important that the worker look at this as an opportunity for improvement rather than as a setback.

Facing a Career Change after a Work Injury

In most cases, injured workers really like the type of work that they were performing at the time of the illness or injury and have intentions to return to the job after they have recovered. However, there are times when illness or injury will leave a worker with some sort of disability and permanent work restrictions that prevent the worker from returning to the same line of work.

For example, a 42-year old ironworker was seriously injured when an improperly secured beam gave way. The worker had been standing on the beam, and the resulting 20-foot fall left the worker with a broken arm and a broken leg on the left side. Because the injuries did not seem severe at the time, the ironworker had plans on returning to his previous job once the broken bones were healed. However, other areas of his body were affected by the fall as well. The worker never fully recovered and continued to have problems in his knee and back resulting in permanent work restrictions that prevented him from returning to his former line of work. Because the ironworker planned on returning to his previous job following recovery, he had made no plans for other types of work. The worker now faced the decision of attending a re-training program or choosing a lump sum buy-out and finding a new job on his own.

Finding the Opportunity in Learning New Job Skills

Nevada workers compensation allows qualified workers to attend a re-training program to learn new job skills in order to gain sufficient employment. While learning new skills and changing to a different line or work can be difficult, the worker is provided with a great opportunity. In addition to the schooling, the necessary books and supplies are also paid for. The worker will also be reimbursed for a portion of the mileage necessary to attend the new job training. During the time the worker is attending the re-training program, he or she will also receive payment of benefits. This is also a good time for the worker to obtain computer skills that are necessary for most jobs that do not involve manual labor. In addition to any schooling provided by workers compensation, there may be community programs available as well. The more opportunities the worker can find to enhance training and a new skill set, the better the chances are that the worker will be able to find better employment.

When to Start Thinking about a New Line of Work

Once an injured worker receives permanent work restrictions and is assigned to work with a vocational rehabilitation counselor, that worker only has 60 days to develop a plan for new training. It is often difficult to make adequate arrangements in that time period, so workers should realistically begin considering alternate job opportunities early on in the course of medical care for the injuries.

Making Alternate Job Plans

The worker should make several plans for employment following a serious injury. Returning to the previous job might be considered “Plan A”, with other options detailed under “Plan B”, “Plan C”, and so on. To begin, workers should consider what their dream job would be, types of work that they are good at, duties of their job that they did well or liked the most, hobbies and interests, previous experience or training, and anything else that might help in setting goals for a new line of work. The worker should keep track of this information by writing these ideas in a notebook or journal in order to develop alternate plans in case a return to the previous job is not possible.

The Role of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

In the State of Nevada, the vocational rehabilitation counselor hired by workers compensation is more like a guide and helps the injured worker through the process of training for a new job. Through questions and testing, the counselor can help identify suitable occupations and will monitor the worker’s progress. However, the worker will choose the type of training desired and must be committed, as well as be physically and mentally capable of completing the selected re-training program.

Starting a Business

With the permanent partial disability award combined with the option of a lump sum buy-out instead of vocational retraining, a worker may be tempted to start his or her own business with this money. Running a business requires additional skills, a detailed plan, and money to start and continue to run the business. If the business is making money, it can take a couple of years to see any profit. Injured workers who wish to try should have an alternate plan in case the business fails. It is important to remember that once a worker selects the lump sum payment instead of vocational rehabilitation, that worker loses all chance of receiving re-training on the claim in the future.

Legal Assistance with Nevada Workers Compensation

The Morris/Anderson Law Firm is available to help injured workers through every step of the workers compensation process in Nevada from proper compensation through vocational re-training issues. Workers can get the help they need with a qualified attorney from Morris/Anderson Law.

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