Georgia workers’ compensation rules require employers in Atlanta to offer vocational rehabilitation benefits to employees who sustain catastrophic work injuries. While they are not required to do so, some employers also offer vocational rehabilitation services even to non-catastrophically injured workers in order to help them rejoin the workforce.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
O.C.G.A. 34-15-1(D)(13) defines vocational rehabilitation services as “any service, provided directly or through public or private instrumentalities, found by the director to be necessary to compensate a person with disabilities for his or her disability to employment and to enable such individual to engage in a remunerative occupation.”
Below are some examples of the types of vocational rehabilitation benefits an employer may offer:
- On-the-job training for new roles and tasks;
- Vocational evaluations;
- Career counseling;
- Job placement services, including resume building and interview coaching;
- Transferable skills analysis and job testing;
- Labor market surveys;
- Refresher courses;
- Educational programs;
- Consulting potential employers about job accommodations and modifications;
- Assessing potential new positions for ergonomics; and
- Education and tuition payments for retraining.
These types of vocational services are crucial to workers whose new disability prevents them from working in the same capacity as they once were able. Your employer should provide these services at no cost to you.
Employee Responsibilities for Rehabilitation Services
Just as the employer is required by law to offer vocational rehabilitation services, you are required to use them. You must make a good faith effort to learn new skills and find new work, despite your disability. This is in the best interests of both the employer and the worker. If you fail to comply, you’ll put your workers’ compensation benefits in jeopardy.
What happens to benefits when you use vocational rehabilitation services?
Many injured employees are concerned that their income replacement benefits will stop if they undergo vocational rehabilitation. If you are catastrophically injured, you will receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits until your condition improves or until you can return to the workforce. If you earn less in your new position than you earned in your old job, then you will begin receiving temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits in lieu of TTD.
Your TPD payment will amount to two-thirds of the difference between your weekly wage prior to your injury and new weekly wage at your new position.
Do you have a specific question? Call Bader Law Firm, LLC
If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under workers’ compensation or what types of benefits you have available, call the Atlanta work injury attorneys at Bader Law Firm, LLC to schedule a free consultation: 404-888-8888.