(On-the-Job Injury or Illness)
Rehabilitation is a program offering special services designed to: eliminate the disability, if that is possible, or to reduce or alleviate the disability to the greatest degree possible; help an injured worker to return to work when possible; or to aid the person with a residual disability to live and work at his/her maximum capability. The Board's Rehabilitation staff includes Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, social workers, and claims examiners to coordinate and follow-up on medical and vocational rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation is voluntary except in limited circumstances, it is mandatory under WCL §15.3(v), i.e., 50% or greater scheduled loss of use. Injured workers should contact the Rehabilitation Unit at the Board if they have any questions about rehabilitation
There are four general types of services offered:
- Vocational Rehabilitation programs for those who, because of their disability, cannot return to their former jobs. These services may provide guidance to help the claimant determine the best way to return to work.
- Selective Placement programs for those claimants who are left with a permanent disability, and who need a job that will fit their abilities.
- Medical Rehabilitation programs include exercise and muscle conditioning, under the supervision of a physician, to restore a person to maximum usefulness. Only a physician may recommend a medical rehabilitation program.
- Social Services provide a staff of social workers to assist an injured worker with a family or financial problem that is interfering with the rehabilitation.
Claimants who are participating in one of the rehabilitation programs continue to receive cash benefits based on the extent of the disability. Claimants who return to work but cannot earn the same wages because of an injury may be entitled to compensation benefits at a reduced rate.