Massachusetts Disability Attorneys
The Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates defend the rights of injured workers everywhere. For over almost 30 years, our experienced legal team has recovered vocational rehabilitation costs and other benefits after workplace accidents. We provide top-notch legal service for sick and disabled employees in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Let us help you get back to work.
Vocational Rehabilitation Costs
Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is a crucial part of the workers’ compensation benefits package for injured workers. When a disability prevents employees from returning to their previous jobs, Massachusetts workers’ compensation law may provide various VR services, including:
- Job retraining
- Resume building
- Education, testing
- Employment search
- Modification of duty
- Job advice, counseling
- Help with job placement
- Return to same workplace
- Return to different employer
These are all non-medical benefits that assist workers in reentering the workforce after an injury. The Massachusetts Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (OEVR) reviews each application for VR costs and determines whether workers are eligible for these services.
Vocational Rehabilitation Eligibility
VR costs are not automatically included as part of the workers’ compensation award. Employees must apply for these services and demonstrate eligibility. Workers may be eligible for VR by fulfilling a variety of requirements, which include:
- Showing the insurer’s acceptance of liability
- Showing medical recovery or near stability
- Having suffered substantial work limitations
- Demonstrating that VR will be both cost-effective and feasible
- Completing a DIA regional referral form
- Attaching supporting medical documents
- Including a copy of any lump-sum agreement
- Sending application package to regional OEVR officer
The relevant regional review officer is required to determine eligibility based on the applicant’s education, medical, and employment records. The officer has up to four weeks to schedule an appointment and request that the insurer provide eligible applicants with VR services.
VR Limitations and Lump Sums
Massachusetts law prohibits any lump sum settlement from including VR costs. By definition, VR compensation requires acceptance of liability by the employer’s insurance company. When the insurer settles without accepting liability, the lump sum payment must not include certain medical and rehabilitation costs. Insurers cannot pay an additional amount for VR as part of the settlement. However, workers may still be eligible for VR if they apply within 2 years of the award and receive written consent from the OEVR.
Although eligible workers are not required to participate in VR, their weekly benefits may diminish by 15 percent if they do not. Further, VR services do not guarantee the injured worker’s return to employment. Regional officers must determine whether offering the employee such services is cost-effective and whether the employee will require the use of mechanical or prosthetic devices in order to return to work in the same or a similar industry.
Recover VR Costs and Benefits
If you require legal assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, the Massachusetts disability lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates can help. We have successfully recovered substantial benefits, including VR costs, for injured workers across the state. Based in Boston, we obtain medical, rehabilitation, and disability benefits for workers in Essex, Suffolk, Middlesex, Plymouth, Norfolk, and Merrimack River. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.