Individuals that are receiving workers’ compensation for on-the-job injuries cannot always return to work as soon as they would like. In the best case scenario, an employee can get back to work in the same capacity as before the injury. Unfortunately, some are not able to ever go back, while others end up with less responsibility and reduced wages.
The options of ending a career or changing it unwillingly after a workplace accident are not the only choices for these workers. Some may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation.
In the State of Pennsylvania, this is facilitated by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Their programs help rehabilitate injured and disabled workers, paving the way for them to reenter the workforce on better terms. The OVR can provide retraining, counseling, diagnostic services, and assistance with job search and placement.
The Application Process
To apply, an injured worker would need to locate an OVR office; this information is available on the OVR website. The worker would need a medical evaluation from their physician that included a recommendation about the type of work responsibilities that could be pursued.
Tests would be administered to see if the worker was able to handle physical tasks; in addition, the employee would undergo cognitive analysis. After this first phase, an OVR counselor may work with the employee to search for jobs based on their post-injury abilities. Usually, an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is designed to help with this.
If the worker needs to switch to less strenuous work, they may need to take classes, or attend on-the-job training. A Financial Need Test (FNT) may be required for certain services. OVR participants that are also receiving Social Security monies for the disability may, by law, be exempt from the FNT.
OVR participants may also receive medical equipment like wheelchairs and assistive devices to help with their recuperation. Physical therapy can also be provided for those in need.
If an employee needs transportation to a rehabilitation program; adaptive modifications to their residence or vehicle; or personal assistance with daily routines to help them attend the program or get to work, these may also be covered. Other services like work station modifications and hearing aids are also offered to those that qualify.
OVR also has a Center for Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology, in Johnstown, PA. This office helps disabled individuals obtain services and devices in order to help them get a new job or remain at the one they have. Examples of this technology includes communication devices and custom mobility tools, along with low-tech options like canes and rubber grips.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Rates
The Department of Labor & Industry set the maximum compensation amount in Pennsylvania at $1,049.00 a week for workplace injuries occurring after January 1, 2019.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Injured Workers with Vocational Rehabilitation Claims
If your company has denied you workers’ compensation benefits, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Call 888-999-1962 or complete an online form for a free case evaluation. We have offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina to serve clients in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.