Workers' compensation benefits provide a number of helpful benefits to those who qualify. This form of insurance covers those hurt at work and usually includes medical expenses and a partial payment of wages. In most cases, hurt workers take a few days or a week or so off of work then return to their previous position. Unfortunately, not all injuries heal easily or completely and further benefits are needed. Read on to learn more.

Maximum Medical Improvement

The above term is another way of saying that your work-related injury won't allow you to return your previous job. For example, if your previous job was driving a forklift at work and you've suffered a back injury you might never be able to perform at that job again. Once you have been receiving the initial workers' comp benefits for some time you will be asked to participate in a special kind of medical exam. A determination of maximum medical improvement as a result of this exam may provide you with an opportunity for additional benefits.

Train for a New Job

While you may not be able to return to your original job, you might be able to do other kinds of work. For example, if you are not able to drive a delivery truck anymore, you may be able to do some light assembly line work or work at a desk job. The offer for rehabilitative services is dependent on your level of disability, the job opportunities in your area, the workers' compensation benefits you are entitled to, and your state's benefit offerings for the disabled. The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to make you more independent of aid and provide you with an income that completely or partially replaces the income you were earning before you were injured.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Your workers' comp plan may pay for some of the services listed below or you may qualify for them based on your disability alone. In some cases, people disabled through work can expect:

  • Evaluation of your disability by a vocational expert to determine what work you can perform.
  • Modification to your work area and place of employment to accommodate your disability
  • Career interest testing and evaluation
  • Career counseling
  • Mental health counseling
  • Job skills evaluations
  • Job placement services

Getting Started

You can contact your state's vocational services agency to learn more about what is available. In some cases, your workers' comp insurance will provide you with a referral for services in your area. If you want vocational services but are having problems with your workers' comp benefits, speak to a workers' comp attorney for more assistance with your claim. Knowing what you are entitled to is the first step, so seek help and an advocate who is on your side by talking with an attorney to learn more.