Retraining BenefitsIf A Work Injury Prevents You From Returning to Your Job, Vocational Training Benefits Can Help
What happens if your work injury prevents you from returning to your job? If your injury has resulted in permanent restrictions and you are unable to earn at least 85% of your pre-injury wages, you may be entitled to vocational retraining benefits. This benefit allows you to be paid 2/3 of your weekly wage (tax free) while you are enrolled in a retraining program. The goal of the program is to allow you to return to the workforce. Retraining benefits also include travel, lodging, and meal expenses related to the retraining program. Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for tuition assistance.
This is a Wisconsin workers compensation benefit the insurance company most likely will not tell you about. So, how does this work? After your doctor provides you with permanent medical restrictions, you should inform your employer. Your employer then has the opportunity to offer you work within those restrictions paying at least 85% of your pre-injury wages. If the employer cannot return you to work, then you could be eligible for retraining benefits.
The next step is to meet with the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). DVR has offices throughout Wisconsin and helps injured workers get back into the workforce. The DVR will review your medical restrictions and determine your eligibility for retraining services. Once you are eligible for services, you will work with a retraining counselor. Your retraining counselor will assess your job skills, education, medical restrictions, and career interests. The counselor may perform a job search to see if jobs you are qualified for exist within your medical restrictions. Note the counselor will not be looking for just any jobs, but jobs paying at least 90% of your pre-injury wages.
If no jobs exist within your restrictions, your counselor will then work to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Your IPE will lay out the steps necessary to get you back to work. The IPE will be a collaborative effort between you and your counselor. This means the counselor will take into consideration what jobs you are interested in and what you would like to do.
Often the IPE will involve additional education, such as completing an Associates or Bachelor degree. This is where Wisconsin’s workers compensation benefits come into play. Wisconsin’s workers compensation system recognizes most injured workers are not in a position financially to simply go back to school. Retraining benefits provide for payment of 2/3 of your wages (tax free) as well as mileage and meal expenses. In some circumstances, tuition will be covered as well.
Retraining benefits help people who have suffered a workers compensation injury get back on their feet. A workers compensation injury can have a major impact on your income. If you are interested in learning more about retraining benefits, please call Hawks Quindel, S.C. to speak with an experienced workers compensation attorney to discuss whether you are eligible for retraining benefits.