After a work injury, many people recover and can return to the job they held before the injury. But when a workplace accident or occupational injury results in permanent restrictions that cause you to lose your job or sustain more than a 10% wage loss, you might be entitled to vocational retraining (schooling) benefits.
Vocational retraining benefits include the cost of tuition, books, mileage, and Temporary Total Disability wage loss benefits to cover living expenses while you are in school. You can work part-time within your permanent restrictions up to 24 hours per week and still be eligible for the maximum amount of retraining benefits. Working more than 24 hours per week results in reduced retraining benefits.
The goal of the worker retraining program is to allow you to return to the workforce. But this is a benefit that many Wisconsin workers’ compensation providers are unlikely to tell you about, and one that workers’ compensation insurance carriers are unlikely to pay without a fight, even if the claim has otherwise been conceded.
You should inform your employer once your doctor has provided you with permanent medical restrictions. Your employer then has the opportunity to offer you work within those restrictions, paying at least 90% of your pre-injury wages. If your employer cannot provide a suitable job, you might be eligible for vocational retraining benefits.
The next step is to meet with the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), which helps injured workers return to the workforce. The DVR will review your work restrictions and determine your eligibility for vocational retraining benefits. Once they determine that you are eligible, you will work with a retraining counselor who will assess your skills, education, medical restrictions, and career interests. The counselor will help you search for jobs that fit your medical restrictions and that pay at least 90% of your pre-injury wages. However, no worker’s compensation benefits are payable for the job placement/development services that DVR offers.
If no jobs exist within your restrictions, the retraining counselor will develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that lays out the steps necessary for you to return to work. When the IPE requires additional education, vocational retraining worker’s compensation benefits come into play.
Once vocational retraining benefits are approved, your employer or the worker’s compensation carrier is responsible for paying the weekly Temporary Total Disability benefit for the time you are receiving educational retraining. They must also provide reimbursement for mileage commuting to and from school, books, tuition, a meal allowance, and other related expenses.
Unfortunately, many employers and worker’s compensation carriers dispute the need for vocational retraining benefits. This is one area where Kingree Law can help. Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney Luke Kingree will prepare the claim paperwork, clearly identifying why you need vocational retraining benefits and why they should be approved. He knows the nuances of the Wisconsin workers’ compensation system, and he knows how to get results.
The process of getting approval for vocational retraining is complicated. Assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney increases your likelihood of success and makes obtaining approval for these benefits much easier.
Vocational retraining benefits are usually tailored to the individual needs of the injured worker. If you have suffered a workplace accident or occupational injury and need assistance submitting a claim and obtaining vocational retraining benefits, Kingree Law can help. Attorney Luke Kingree will evaluate your claim, identify the benefits you are entitled to receive, and help you get your life back on track after an accident.
Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will improve your chances of qualifying for vocational retraining benefits. And if your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier refuses to pay for vocational retraining benefits, Attorney Kingree will file the proper paperwork and request a hearing to require them to do so.
Attorney Kingree has practiced worker’s compensation law since 2007. He knows the law and legal precedents that apply to claims for vocational retraining benefits, and he knows what it takes to get these benefits approved. Attorney Kingree is highly regarded in Wisconsin’s legal community and is recognized as a powerful advocate for injured workers. He has handled over 1,000 claims for workers’ compensation benefits, and he regularly achieves successful results.
Kingree Law handles workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee, which means you won’t pay an attorney’s fee unless we recover money for you. With offices in Madison and Eau Claire, Kingree Law proudly represents injured workers throughout Wisconsin.
To learn more about how Kingree Law can help, visit our FAQ section and Information Center, then contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.