While many workers readily receive rehabilitation consultations, others receive pushback from the insurance company and have to fight for the help they need. As detailed in the previous blog, workers, employers, or insurance companies may request rehabilitation consultations. At a consultation, a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) determines whether the worker is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.
Injured workers or their attorneys may request rehabilitation consultations. Because insurance companies are responsible for paying the QRCs, they may dispute the need for a consultation either before or after the employee makes the request. Some reasons an insurance company might dispute the need for a consultation include:
- The insurer does not think the worker will need to receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits for more than 13 weeks
- The worker has no physical restrictions or permanent partial disability
- The insurer believes that the worker will return to work within 90 days from the date of injury
- The insurance company does not want to pay for the QRC
If the employer or insurer believes that the worker will return to work within 90 days, it may file a request for waiver of the rehabilitation consultation. To receive a waiver, the employer must show that the employee will return to suitable work with that same employer.
Minnesota law requires insurers to send out a Disability Status Report to the injured worker and the Department of Labor and Industry when certain events occur in a workers’ compensation claim process. On the Disability Status Report, the insurer must indicate whether the employee requested a rehabilitation consultation. If the employee did request one, the insurer must either provide one or get a waiver.
The Disability Status Report effectively requires the insurer to provide a consultation once certain events occur, if it does not have a waiver. These events include the worker receiving TTD for 13 weeks, not returning to work within 90 days from the injury, or requesting a rehabilitation consultation. If any of these events have occurred and the insurance company continues to deny a consultation, the employee will need to fill out a Rehabilitation Request and let the Department resolve the dispute.
Having trouble with repeated denials by the insurance company? 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.