Maryland Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits- Why is the job search necessary?
If the employee was hurt at work and can no longer meet the physical demands of his or her job he may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits under Maryland’s workman’s comp laws. Entitlement to vocational rehabilitation (voc rehab) may arise if the injured worker is no longer able to perform his work duties because of the injuries sustained and the employer does not have an accommodating position available. A mutually agreeable counselor will be selected by the employee’s workers comp attorney and the insurance representative to provide counseling during the employment search. The goal is to find a job that is suitable and gainful- pay close to the same wages and be relatively similar to prior employment. While searching for employment the insurance company will be responsible to pay the worker vocational benefits in the same amount as Temporary Total Disability benefits. In certain circumstances educational courses and certifications may be available.
Some wonder why the voc rehab process is necessary before settling their Maryland workers comp case. The underlying legal theory is that a person should be given the opportunity to live a full, productive life even if the work injury has limited their physical ability to perform the same job they once performed. A general consensus exists that it is overall healthier to be a contributing member of society with a sense of purpose and accomplishment met through employment. Most Maryland workers compensation commissioners are aware of this and view vocational rehab as very beneficial to the overall health and well being of the worker.
If the health and wellness explanation does not convince the injured to take advantage of voc rehab there is some financial incentive. Not only will the Maryland injured worker be paid while searching for new employment- a benefit that should not be under appreciated- the injured worker will also provide their Maryland workers compensation attorney further ammunition to use at the time of the compensation hearing.
The Claimant’s attorney, in Maryland, can argue that the injured worker has sustained an industrial loss because of the incident in question. An industrial loss exists when the injured worker is no longer making the same wages either because he or she is not able to tolerate as many hours of work, or simply because of the loss of physical capacity. The Workers Compensation Commissioners can then consider providing an enhanced award if they agree an industrial loss exists.
Many workers compensation beneficiaries want settlement and compensation as soon as possible. Outstanding bills, the long grueling process, or simply a desire for closure all play into the appeal of a quick settlement. Before rushing towards the quicker “settlement” (types of settlement) a Maryland injured worker must consider the possibility of an increased compensation amount, they will be paid to look for employment, and overall health and wellness should they not find employment on their own. Voc rehab is a benefit that should not be overlooked in exchange for a quick settlement.