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Full Version: voc rehab harassment
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I've been on workmen's comp and out of work about 2 years. I have irreversible nerve damage that has me on permanent light duty should I find work. I am 58 years old and a skilled construction worker by trade. I am being subjected to having to apply for jobs such as cashier, working pumping gas, and other jobs I probably couldn't stand to do physically anyway, but which I have absolutely no vocational interest in. The pay would be about 40-45% less than what I was making when injured.

I am compelled to go to night school and take courses in Excel spreadsheet program. I can't even understand what the instructor is talking about half the time. I am not learning there and have had to miss about 1/3 of the classes because of my pain situation. I don't want to work in an office, be a cashier, or pump gas. Don't I have any recourse in this situation? Negotiations are stalled in my settlement and I think I am being pushed by the voc rehab people in order to stop the settlement entirely.

My case is a North Carolina one. Can I be forced to take a job not within my experience, vocational interest or anywhere close to my original pay rate? Thanks for your help.
From my understanding, if a job is offered to you within your restrictions you have to accept it. If you do not accept the job your work comp benefits stop.

I have tried to take some college classes since my injury in 2005.

I was enrolled in an accounting class last fall. I couldn't concentrate and I was failing the class. (This is a big issue for me as I have a 4.0 average in college) I was so upset at the doctor's appointment and telling him about my lack of concentration, I sure got a big lecture from him.

He told me with my medical issues and at this point in my life it may would cause problems with my ability to learn and concentrate. My doctor told me use my energy to improve my health and worry about school later.
From what I understand you are right if you are offered a job within your restriction you need to take it or risk losing your benifits. Kind of degrading but the way it is. I'm sure if you speak to a lawyer they can help answer your question better then I can.
have you tried getting SSDI ? maybe you are not ment to go back out in the work force......
Hi,
Yes, I too found VR very degrading,it may seem like harrassment, but it's their job to get you back to work. The jobs they pushed me to apply for were ridiculous....something I might do when I was a 16 y/o kid, for a first job. One was even passing out pretzel samples in a mall 45 miles away! Simply ridiculous! The degrading part was the pay rate which was no where near, what I'm actually worth or was accustomed to making! I am sure you have the same situation. Hang in there....since the country is in a big funk right now, your chances of being hired for a looser type job are slim, simply because of your injury, and hundreds of able bodied people are after ANY type of work..so you are up against many others for a job.
All you can do is try a job within your restrictions if you should land one. You may find out it is too painful to continue working....that's when you return to your treating MD and explain what's happening. He may take you completely out of work, or tighten your restrictions even more....But you at least must make an effort to look for work, and attempt to land a job, then attempt to do the job IF hired.
Hang in there, Lilly
Thanks for your replies, Folks. My only reason for having asked these questions is that I know the rules say that the job search is to be within limits including vocational interest, physical limitations, and reasonably close to former pay rate. Seems like the Voc Rehab folks are ignoring these and are getting away with it. My concern is that I'll be forced into a job I hate and that the pay won't take care of my bills as my former rate of pay barely did. Why make rules if no one's going to be bound by them? Thanks again!
nervewracked1 Wrote:Thanks for your replies, Folks. My only reason for having asked these questions is that I know the rules say that the job search is to be within limits including vocational interest, physical limitations, and reasonably close to former pay rate. Seems like the Voc Rehab folks are ignoring these and are getting away with it. My concern is that I'll be forced into a job I hate and that the pay won't take care of my bills as my former rate of pay barely did. Why make rules if no one's going to be bound by them? Thanks again!

If you are lucky to find a job within whatever your restrictions are and you are making less money than what you were before your injury then you should qualify for what they call "wage loss compensation". If you have an attorney they should be able to provide with the info for info or you can check with your claims specialist at your state BWC. I am in the process of doing this as I just found out about it last week. If you cannot find any work within your restrictions then they have what they call "non-working wage loss compensation" that you might qualify for. You have to do job searches and job history and of course there is always paperwork to fill out but the help is there.
First let me say it is not harassment.

Since you were in construction, and can no longer perform that work, they will try a skills match, and then add in your restrictions, then match that to some type of work. If your skills and restrictions limit the scale of pay rate, it is then allowed.

Many people have a very hard time letting go of their work that they are just use to doing. This is where it is hard.

Then say you made $30.00 per hour when injured, and voc rehab finds you a job at say $10.00 per hour. You should then get a check from the Insurance carrier for 66 2/3 of the $20.00 per hour your loosing out on. Or when settlement comes about all this gets hashed out.
Our experience in AZ has to similar as described above, when not employed but offically released to restricted work status the expectation was submitting 3 job searches per week, to get wage compensation. They cannot tell you where or what job you have to look for, just ones that generally fall within your restrictions. Living in a rural area we had a very difficult time after over a year with finding job opportunities, many were online subbmissions at Yahoo jobs or MSN jobs etc. I know WC adjuster didn't like it, but it was all we had.

After a frustrating conversation with the nurse case manager and the Pain Mgmt specialist the light bulbs finally came on, the pain mgmt specialist resubmitted his work release letter with the wording the adjuster needed and the nurse case manager requested to change his work status.

As much of a pain as voc reb is to you, we are not even able to access voc rehab until after MMI and his active claim is transferred to permanent disabled instead of temp dis status.
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