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Can I get vocational rehabilitation for work injury?

By definition, a work-related accident is an incident that causes harm to a worker and happens unexpectedly. No Maryland worker leaves their home and goes to work expecting to suffer an injury that might prevent them from earning a living. Maryland has long recognized the importance of assisting injured workers in returning to the workforce so that they can continue to provide for themselves and their families.

That's why the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission oversees a program that is designed to provide benefits to workers seeking vocational rehabilitation. Sometimes referred to as "Voc Rehab," these benefits can enable injured workers to retrain into another position at their places of employment or allow workers to learn skills for entry into other careers.

Usually, the process begins with workers discussing with their attorneys or insurance claims representatives whether or not they should pursue vocational rehabilitation. Then, an injured worker will be assessed by a Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services counselor who will manage the claim. Workers seeking these benefits must first obtain permission from the insurer or the WWC before any benefits are awarded.

The WWC will require your doctor's statement that you are unable to return to work in most cases when retraining is requested. The vocational rehabilitation benefits are good for up to a period of two years of paid training, although your particular field of endeavor may not require assistance for that duration. Additionally, the governing body may look to see if there are any suitable jobs available that you can perform in your area before awarding the benefit.

Maryland workers injured in accidents at their jobs often have a lot to deal with while recovering. Often, the job of pursuing workers' compensation claims and additional benefits can be daunting in those circumstances. Your attorney should prove helpful to you throughout this process.

Source: Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission, "VOC Rehab Services for Injured Workers in Maryland" Oct. 16, 2014

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