If you cannot return to your previous job due to your work-related injury or illness, the Washington workers’ compensation system may provide you with vocational rehabilitation services, which may involve training in a new field. This should only happen if you are physically and mentally able to find and keep a job with a steady paycheck.
Here are some questions a vocational rehabilitation provider asks in determining how to help you get back to work.
Are you able to work?
A provider assesses preexisting physical and mental conditions that may make it difficult for you to work, as well as any conditions caused by your work injury or illness. These will contribute to the determination of your employability.
Is there a job you can do?
The VRP gathers and analyzes your education and employment history to determine whether you have skills that transfer to another job. Transferable skills may be leadership abilities, specific knowledge of equipment, verbal and written communication skills or computer experience.
Next, the VRP will analyze your labor market to identify a type of job you could reasonably obtain and keep. The analysis will be of the area where you used to work unless you have moved for health reasons or your new residence is in an area with more job opportunities.
What do you need to become employable?
Part of the rehabilitation plan is the training that you need to perform a job. It also involves accommodations. If you cannot complete the training or perform essential duties without some modifications, the VRP’s job is to identify these and develop the modifications that will make it possible for you to succeed.