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Do L&I Vocational Rehabilitation Services Actually Benefit You?

July 16th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “Do L&I Vocational Rehabilitation Services Actually Benefit You?”

What Vocational Rehabilitation Services are Available under the Industrial Insurance Act?

The following Vocational Rehabilitation Services are available under Washington State’s Industrial Insurance Act pursuant to WAC 296-19A-020(a)-(l):

  • Gathering an industrially-injured or ill worker’s work and/or education histories and physical capacities information
  • Assessing an industrially-injured or ill worker’s employability
  • Developing, documenting, and writing vocational rehabilitation plans
  • Monitoring an injured worker’s progress during training
  • Writing retraining progress reports and submitting these to the Department of Labor and Industries
  • Analyzing and documenting the transferable skills of the injured or ill worker and writing a transferable skills analysis
  • Performing occupational research
  • Conducting labor market surveys and writing labor market survey reports
  • Conducting and writing job analyses
  • Communicating with industrially-injured or ill workers, employers, physicians and others
  • Developing job modifications and worksite modifications, as well as pre-employment accommodations, and writing reports for this work
  • Performing work to obtain any job with any employer for injured workers referred for vocational services

An injured worker with an astute eye will immediately realize that many of the so-called “services” provided by a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) assigned either by the Department of Labor & Industries or the Self-Insured Employer (usually acting through a Third-Party Administrator or TPA) are contrary to the interests of the injured or ill worker who believes they cannot work. In this sense, WAC 296-19A-020 provides for “disservices” to the injured workers, and the defense interests know this well! (more…)

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We Can Help You Fight Your Ability to Work Assessment

July 12th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “We Can Help You Fight Your Ability to Work Assessment”

What is an Ability to Work Assessment (AWA) under the Industrial Insurance Act?

Injured workers often get assigned a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in their industrial insurance claim. The purpose of this assignment is often to perform an Ability to Work Assessment. The outcome of this assessment will literally determine whether the injured worker is allowed to remain on time-loss benefits and retrain for lighter work, whether they are recommended for a lifetime of injury pension benefits, or whether their L&I claim will close with a recommendation that they can still work despite the serious limitations caused by their industrial injury or occupational disease. (more…)

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Are You Employable After Your Work Injury?

July 9th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “Are You Employable After Your Work Injury?”

Under Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 296-19A, the Department of Labor and Industries has outlined requirements for finding an injured worker capable of either returning to work or being retrained. If the Department finds that the injured worker is not “employable” even with the assistance of retraining, then an injury pension results; except where the injured worker’s lack of employability is caused by a post-accident or post-disease condition.

Using the Industrial Insurance Act to Determine If You Are Able to Work

“Employable is defined by WAC 296-19A-010(a) saying that “having the skills and training that are currently necessary in the labor market to be capable of performing and obtaining gainful employment on a reasonably continuous basis when considering the worker’s: (more…)

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What Are Early Intervention Vocational Services Under the Industrial Insurance Act?

July 6th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “What Are Early Intervention Vocational Services Under the Industrial Insurance Act?”

An injured worker with an L&I claim will often be assigned a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) who appears with a stated mission to perform “early intervention vocational services.” Sometimes, the assignment of such a VRC is an indication that conflict is coming between the injured or ill worker and the Department of Labor & Industries and Self-Insured Employer. It is often, therefore, a reason to consult an experienced Labor & Industries attorney.

Is the VRC there for the worker? No. If they were there for the worker, the name of the services for which they’ve been hired wouldn’t include the word “intervention.” What exactly is being intervened (?) – the worker’s current course toward potentially receiving long-term time loss, valuable retraining benefits or receipt of an injury pension. In sum, receipt of valuable benefits is being “intervened,” and this tells you clearly that the appearance of a VRC for this purpose is often a bad thing for the injured or sick worker.

What does the VRC do when assigned for early intervention services in a worker’s L&I claim? Washington Administrative Code provides that they will: (more…)

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What are Vocational Rehabilitation Plan Development Services under the Industrial Insurance Act?

July 3rd, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “What are Vocational Rehabilitation Plan Development Services under the Industrial Insurance Act?”

Once an Ability to Work Assessment has been performed and the Department of Labor & Industries agrees (whether in a State Fund case or in a Self-Insured Employer case) that an injured worker cannot return to work without retraining assistance; the Department will issue an order indicating that the worker is entitled to Plan Development Services. This may or may not be good news for an injured or ill worker. It’s very good news if the injured worker believes they can return to work with some assistance in retraining; it’s very bad news if the injured worker doesn’t believe they can work and should instead be found entitled to an injury pension. (more…)

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