Glossary Check: Mass. ‘VR’

21 Jun, 2024 Frank Ferreri

                               

Boston, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Not long ago, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts released guidance for injured workers on vocational rehabilitation. Simply Research subscribers got ahold of it, but here's a breakdown on what VR is in the Bay State,

What is it?

VR helps the injured worker find a new job or a new career. VR provides such non-medical services as vocational testing/counseling and job placement assistance.

Who qualifies for VR?

Any injured worker may apply. However, to be
determined suitable for VR, an injured worker should:

+ Have liability accepted by the insurer.

+ Be medically stable.

+ Have permanent functional limitations.

Additionally, VR must be feasible and cost effective.

How does someone apply?

An injured worker may:

+ Apply in the region where her case is being heard by filling out a referral form requesting a mandatory meeting. The worker must fill out the form completely, and an attorney may assist a worker in filling out the form. The worker must include medical reports that are no more than six months old as well as a copy of the lump sum agreement, if applicable.

+ Apply by mail or fax (617) 727-4366. The worker must send the completed referral form and attached documents to the respective region where the case is being heard to the attention of the Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation.

After applying, a worker will receive contact from a Regional Review Officer for an appointment.

Who determines eligibility?

OEVR reviews the worker's medical, educational, and employment history. If the worker is found eligible, OEVR will request that the insurer arrange VR services for th eworker.

How are services provided?

If OEVR finds a worker eligible, the insurer is required to provide the worker with services.

Does the worker get sent to school?

Not every injured worker needs retraining, and the VRP process is employment-oriented with the goal of getting workers back to employment in the most expedient and cost-effective way. Attempts will be made to return the worker to the same employer and the same job, but if this isn't possible, other options could include:

+ Modifying jobs to return workers to their same employers.

+ Finding a different job with the same employer.

+ Finding a different job with a different employer.

If all else fails, then retraining is an option.

Is it possible to get extra money?

No. The cost of VR services cannot be made part of a worker's lump sum settlement.


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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