Vocational rehabilitation is a process that aids someone with functional, psychological, cognitive, emotional, or other health impairments overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment.
Vocational rehabilitation professionals develop and present opinions about an individual’s likeliness to perform certain occupations and the most appropriate method to gain access in new career pathways. This can include a vocational rehabilitation plan. A vocational rehabilitation plan can help mitigate vocationally-relevant damages such as loss of earning capacity. Towards this end, a vocational expert can also help evaluate the costs of the vocational rehabilitation plan as part of calculating overall damages.
A vocational expert will consider an evaluee’s vocational limitations, functional limitations, personal strength, emotional functioning, and cognitive capabilities. Assessment of the costs of the rehabilitation plan typically include:
· Tuition and other related training costs.
· Assistive technology needs costs.
· Training duration to assess lost wages.
Other Services Related to Vocational Rehabilitation
- Job Analysis
Job analysis are used for recruitment, training, performance review, and process planning. They are also used in disability management. Capturing the physical demands, mental demands, social demands, and environment conditions helps the medical providers assess whether an employee can return to their regular job with or without accommodations. Job analysis also provides clarity for the parties in a RTW program. Having light duty job analyses ready to go when an employee is temporarily disabled can speed the RTW process and set the tone that a valuable employee will maintain productivity and pay whenever possible.
- Labor Market Surveys and Research
If you need to know…
ꟷAre there adequate full time jobs in the claimant’s labor market?
ꟷDo employer reports comport with the secondary published data?
ꟷAre there concerns about the client’s demonstrated skills?
ꟷAre job demands consistent, reasonable, & within the client’s capacities?
ꟷDoes the research address need for current demonstrated skills?
ꟷAre necessary job modifications common and customary?
…retain a vocational rehabilitation professional
- Return-to-Work Services
Having a RTW program in place before an employee becomes injured can help set the tone and the stage for success. Aligning the manager, supervisor, and employee expectations sets clear boundaries, roles, and goals for a RTW program. Coordination with the employee, the medical providers, human resources, and managers can ensure a timely and effective RTW.
- Job Modification/Accommodation
Providing job accommodations can provide a pathway to return-to-work before long-term disability sets in. Changes to the workstation, the work schedule, or work duties can allow someone with temporary disabilities return to active participation. This helps provide the individual with purpose and the employer with getting the work done. There may be cash benefits to employers including Stay at Work funds, job modification funds.
- Vocational Assessment and Testing
- Vocational Rehabilitation Retraining
- Second Injury Pension Analysis