Employees who sustain work-related injuries or have disabilities that prevent them from working for a period of time are entitled to receive benefits outlined under the Worker's Compensation law and the federal Rehabilitation Act. One of the benefits offered to injured and disabled workers under these acts is vocational rehabilitation.
Vocational rehabilitation mainly involves providing employees with the services needed to help them return to work, to enter a new line of work, or to enter the workforce for the first time. The types of services that may be offered by vocational rehabilitation programs include counseling, training, transportation, and job placement. Some programs even offer medical and dental treatment, prosthetic devices, and other special equipment to aid injured or disabled workers. Generally, before workers can enter vocational rehabilitation programs, they'll be required to meet with a counselor who will determine their eligibility. Counselors usually determine eligibility based on workers' compensation case records, medical reports, aptitude test results, personal interviews, and work and personal histories. Once eligibility is established, workers may qualify for financial benefits including tuition, fees, books, supplies, training equipment, and travel reimbursement. Eventually, the goal of vocational rehabilitation is to place injured or disabled workers in suitable job positions. As a result, those individuals who show no desire or ability to gain or keep employment may be denied assistance.