A workers’ compensation applicant who requests a rehabilitation consultation will meet with a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC). During the meeting, the QRC will evaluate whether the injured worker is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.
Good QRCs help injured workers train for and find a new job they can perform after their injuries. A QRC may provide some of the vocational rehabilitation services that a worker needs, and he or she may refer the worker to other providers from some of the services. Before a worker can receive services, the QRC must evaluate whether the worker:
- Needs help returning to work because of his or her work-related injury;
- Cannot return to his or her occupation or to the job held at the time of injury;
- Cannot return to suitable gainful employment for the worker’s employer at the time of injury, due to the worker’s new work restrictions; and
- Can be expected to return to suitable gainful employment after receiving rehabilitation services.
(Minn. Rules § 5220.0100, subd. 22.) In other words, the worker cannot go back to his old job because of his injury and needs rehabilitation services to help him get a new job.
The term “suitable gainful employment” refers to attainable work that places the injured worker back at an economic status as close to the one he held with his old job as possible. The QRC may look to the worker’s age, education, previous work history, interests, skills, and other factors to determine whether the worker cannot return to his old job but could get a new job with the help of vocational rehab. (Minn. Rules § 5220.0100, subd. 34.)
If the Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant decides that the injured worker does qualify for vocational rehabilitation, the QRC will develop a rehabilitation plan. This plan describes the various services the worker will receive and how the services will help the worker attain suitable gainful employment in a new job. (Minn. Rules § 5220.0100, subd. 27.) Not every worker is eligible for vocational rehabilitation. If the QRC decides that you do not qualify, you still may qualify to receive wage loss benefits and medical benefits due to your workplace injury.
Are you struggling to get vocational rehabilitation services so you can return to work? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.