If You Can't Find a Job After a Workers' Comp Injury
Oregon's vocational rehabilitation system prepares you for the next careerBy S.M. Oliva | Last updated on January 29, 2023
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation?
- What Kind of VR Benefits Will You Actually Receive?
How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation?The rules governing VR are quite complex, so you should always consult with an Oregon workers’ compensation attorney before seeking benefits. But here are some of the basics for injured workers:
- First, you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation if you previously received permanent total disability (PTD) benefits from a workers’ compensation claim that have now been terminated “by a final order.”
- Second, you must be legally authorized to work in the United States.
- Third, you must live in Oregon or be “within commuting distance” of the state. In other words, if you moved to the East Coast following your workplace injury, you are not eligible to receive VR benefits. However, this requirement does not apply if you did not live in Oregon at the time of your original job injury, or if you state your intention to move back to Oregon at your own expense.
- Finally, you must be medically unable to “return to regular employment”—meaning you cannot go back to your old job due to your work-related injury. Your doctor or health care provider can provide certification of your mental and physical impairments, as well as describe any limitations on your future ability to work. But keep in mind, your doctor cannot “prescribe” VR benefits. That determination is made by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider.
What Kind of VR Benefits Will You Actually Receive?Assuming you do qualify for VR, you will need to meet with a qualified vocational counselor. In some cases, you may receive re-training for an entirely new career. But depending on your existing skill level and medical restrictions, you may also be offered a new position right away with relocation or wage subsidies. The ultimate goal is to get you back to earning at least 80 percent of your pre-accident wages, or at least as close as is possible. If for any reason you are denied VR benefits, or are dissatisfied with the assistance you do receive, you have legal options to appeal. Once again, a qualified Oregon workers’ compensation attorney can advise you further on this subject. If you’d like to know more about this area, read our workers’ compensation law overview.
Find top lawyers with confidence
The Super Lawyers patented selection process is peer influenced and research driven, selecting the top 5% of attorneys to the Super Lawyers lists each year. We know lawyers and make it easy to connect with them.Find a lawyer near you