What Vocational Rehab Services Are Available to Workers in Ohio?

Are you a worker in Columbus, Ohio, who has experienced an injury or disability that is impacting your ability to work? If so, you may be wondering what options are available to help you get back on track and regain your independence. That’s where vocational rehab services in workers comp come in.

We’ll explore how vocational rehabilitation can assist you in overcoming barriers and achieving meaningful employment. If you have been hurt in a workplace accident, call our Columbus workers comp lawyers.

What Are Vocational Rehab Services?

Vocational rehabilitation services are designed to help injured employees return to work. The primary goal is to help a worker return to his or her original job, or if this isn’t possible, find a new job.

Anyone in the workers compensation process can refer an employee for rehabilitation, including an attorney, doctor, or employer. Eligibility is determined by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

There are three related programs: remain at work, job retention, and return to work.

Remain at Work Program

The remain at work program is for injured workers with medical-only claims (seven or fewer days of missed work) who remained or returned to work, but who are facing challenges doing their job. The managing care organization develops a remain-at-work program and coordinates and pays for the services.

In order to be eligible, a worker must meet the following criteria:

  • An injured worker has a medical-only or lost-time claim that has been allowed or certified without payment of salary continuation or temporary total compensation.
  • Due to the allowed condition, the injured worker is having difficulty at work.
  • Employers, injured workers, or physicians have identified the problem.

Remain at work services include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Ergonomic study (analyzing and adjusting work environment)
  • Gradual return to work
  • Job modification
  • Physical or occupational therapy at the work site
  • On-the-job training
  • Tools and equipment
  • Vocational rehabilitation case management

Job Retention

These services help workers who have returned to work on modified duty after eight or more days off work and received temporary total compensation or salary continuation.

Services may include but are not limited to:

  • Employer Incentive Contracts: These contracts with employers often outline commitments to providing suitable accommodations and opportunities.
  • Physical Restoration Services: These services aim to restore physical abilities through targeted interventions such as work hardening, work conditioning, and more.
    • Work Hardening: Intensive programs to enhance physical capabilities and work-related skills promote a smooth transition back to the job.
    • Work Conditioning: Tailored exercises and activities to improve physical fitness and job-specific functions.
    • Active Physical or Occupational Therapy: Engaging in specialized therapy sessions to regain and improve physical abilities, bridging the gap for reintegration.
  • Training: Equipping workers with essential skills and knowledge, ensuring they are well-prepared to fulfill their roles effectively and adapt to any changes within the workplace.

Return to Work

The return to work program helps eligible workers return to work after an injury. Services include but aren’t limited to:

  • Career counseling
  • Gradual return to work
  • Job modification
  • On-the-job training
  • Work conditioning
  • Active physical or occupational therapy
  • Transitional work and on-site therapy
  • Re-employment services

Who Is Eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation?

In general, an injured worker must meet the following criteria to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation:

  • The worker has missed eight or more days of work.
  • The worker is suffering from “significant impediment to employment”
  • The worker was not working on the date of the referral (except for job retention services)
  • At least one of the following applies to the claim:
    • Temporary total or permanent total compensation at the time of referral
    • A permanent partial disability (scheduled loss) award
    • Permanent partial disability with job restrictions dating no more than 180 days before the referral
    • The worker is receiving job retention services
    • Catastrophic injury claim and a vocational goal can be established

This list isn’t comprehensive. See Ohio Administrative Code 4123-18-03 for more details.

vocational rehabilitation in workers compensation

How Does the Process Work?

Comprehensive evaluations are conducted to determine the extent of the individual’s injury, functional limitations, and current skill set. These assessments guide the development of an appropriate rehabilitation plan.

The case manager takes on the central role of coordinating the various rehabilitation services. They assess the injured worker’s needs and then collaborate with the Bureau of Workers Compensation, the managed care organization, and the worker to design a personalized rehabilitation plan.

Hire a Seasoned Columbus Work Injury Attorney to Help You

If you have experienced a work-related injury in Columbus, Ohio, and are struggling to return to the workforce, vocational rehabilitation services can be a valuable resource. These services aim to provide the necessary support and guidance to help you regain your independence and find suitable employment.

However, navigating workers’ compensation laws and accessing vocational rehab services can be challenging. That’s why it is crucial to enlist the help of an experienced Columbus work injury attorney.

Our seasoned Ohio workers comp attorneys are here for you every step of the way. Reach out today by calling (833) 406-0060 so that we can discuss your case.