E. Rehabilitation benefits may be available to an injured worker if a doctor determines that the worker is no longer able to return to their pre-injury job. There is generally a $16,000.00 maximum that will be spent to help you find a new career. These benefits include payment to a vocational rehabilitation counselor for his/her fees, payment of Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance Allowance (VRMA). VRMA is paid at the rate of $246.00 per week. You may supplement this amount with PD advances, if you choose. Because the VRMA is usually less than the TD payments, I recommend that people who know they will not be able to return to their former job try to get involved with the vocational rehabilitation process as soon as possible, hopefully while they are still receiving the higher TD benefits.
This is not always possible, but it is preferable for obvious reasons.
When you have reached a stable point in your recovery, you are deemed to be, “Permanent and Stationary”. This means that you are not improving or getting worse. When you are “Permanent and Stationary” you are ready to be evaluated by your doctor to determine your level of permanent disability, if any. When this occurs you are given a “rating”. The amount of money you receive for your disability is linked to your rating. This amount has not, in some cases been changed since 1984. The amount you receive depends on the extent of your injury.
When you have received a rating, the adjuster sends you a settlement document. You may either choose to allow the company to buy out your rights to receive medical care, or you may choose to take advantage of the law which states that the insurance company is required to pay for all medical benefits you require that you can prove are reasonably related to cure or relieve from the effects of your industrial injury. I recommend that you talk to someone knowledgeable in the field before deciding how to settle your case.
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