Moving Beyond Injury, Opening New Doors
A third-generation glazier, John spent 15 years installing commercial windows. A strong six-foot-six and talented at his trade, he was a highly requested worker at job sites. But John suffered a serious concussion and complicated shoulder and neck injuries after a steel beam was dropped on his head while he stood on scaffolding.
His injuries resulted in a long recuperation, during which he battled blinding headaches and neck pain. His doctor determined that John would not be able to return to glazing without risking permanent disability. With a young family to support, and having enjoyed his trade, John went through the same feelings of depression, shock and anxiety that other victims of workplace injuries often experience when unable to return to their jobs. Finally, John was told he had rights to help finding a new career. . .
Job Rehabilitation Benefits
As an Illinois worker, if you cannot return to your former job because of limitations caused by your work-related injury, you are entitled to assistance in finding other employment. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires that your employer pay for vocational rehabilitation in addition to paying for the medical care which you need for treatment of your injuries.
Vocational rehabilitation is a retraining program designed to help you acquire the skills necessary to return to suitable gainful employment consistent with your physical limitations. Some of the services to which you may be entitled include:
- Vocational Counseling—working with an occupational therapist to evaluate your skills, abilities and interests and to create a plan for finding employment
- Job matching—includes matching your skills and interests to jobs for which you would qualify
- Wage-assessment evaluations
- Transferable-skills analysis and testing
- Job-search assistance
- Resume services
- Interview coaching
- Ergonomics assessment
- On-the-job training
- Education and tuition payments for retraining in anew occupation.
You are also entitled to receive weekly lostwage benefits during the entire retraining period.
If you qualify for vocational rehabilitation, you should accept the services, cooperate with retraining efforts and make a valid attempt to return to suitable employment. A refusal to participate may result in a reduction or suspension of your wage-loss benefits during the time you refuse services.
Some aggressive workers’ compensation benefit companies put pressure on injured workers to return to their jobs too early or may try to limit or deny such critical workers’ compensation benefits as healthcare expenses, MRIs or CT scans, lost wages or long-term physical therapy, in addition to attempting to deny job retraining.
If you encounter obstacles to obtaining the care and benefits you need while on workers’ compensation, contact STYKA & STYKA, LLC at (312) 357-8000. We stand up to the insurance companies that try to deny or limit our clients’ rightful claims to workers’ compensation benefits.