If you can’t return to your old job because your injuries make it impossible, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. These services are designed to help you find and keep jobs so you don’t have to live on a meager workers’ compensation check for the rest of your life.
To do so, you must first find an organization to help you. Most people get VR services from one of the following organizations.
- The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NJVRDS)
- The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI)
- The United States Veteran’s Administration
- Employment Networks through the SSI/SSDI Ticket to Work Programs
- Private vocational rehabilitation services
Note that you must apply for any of these services; any organization may deny you. Fortunately, your workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with a VR denial like we would help you with a denied workers’ compensation claim. You have the right to appeal any denial.
The types of services you would receive depend on the organization but often include:
- Career counseling
- Job placement services
- One-on-one job coaching
- Assistive technologies
- Training, including vocational school, technology, trade, or business school training
- Deaf or hard of hearing services
- Mental health counseling
- Vehicle or home modifications
Many people feel utterly lost when considering what kind of work they can do now, especially if they have been barred from a career they held for years or even decades. Vocational rehabilitation services can help you identify new opportunities you might enjoy or be good at.
In addition, participating in these programs may help you keep public assistance or other benefits that will help you get back on your feet. You do not lose your workers’ compensation benefits while participating in a program. You only lose your benefits once employed and draw a new salary. If you have concerns about the transition’s financial impact, speak to your VR counselor or your New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer. Note that while your new job may not pay as much as your old job, it will often pay more than workers’ compensation would.
Of course, if you are disabled to the point where you can’t reasonably hold down any job, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. While those lifelong benefits are difficult to attain, a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can help. Contact us to get started today.