Retraining Information – Why it matters to your Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation provides a Reemployment Services Program. The program offers two primary services – retraining programs or reemployment assistance.
If an individual who has achieved the level of maximum medical improvement is unable to earn at least 80% of their pre-injury average rate of pay, they may be eligible for retraining services through the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Example: a plumber injures his back at work. He can no longer lift more than 20 lbs. as a result of the back injury. He can clearly no longer work in the field he was in, which is very physically demanding — he would be a good candidate for retraining or reemployment assistance.
The state of Florida will provide tuition, books, and other material services to an injured worker if the state believes the individual possesses the necessary skills and aptitude to be enrolled in a state-sponsored retraining program.
If the employee is eligible for a retraining program, the employer/carrier will be responsible for paying 26 weeks of rehabilitative temporary total disability benefits through the carrier. The benefits can be extended another 26 weeks, if the injured worker’s program extends beyond the initial 26 week period and he or she is making sufficient academic progress.
To request screening for services – an injured worker will request a screening through the employee web portal – which can be accessed at the following link:
The application may take about an hour, and will ask questions about 15 years of work history, medical information (specifically, limitations which impact an individual’s work activities), and educational/training background.
If after the evaluation, the Reemployment Services Program determines the injured worker is only eligible for reemployment assistance, the state will assist with vocational counseling, job seeking skills training, resume writing, and job placement. In this situation, no money benefits will be payable by the employer/carrier. Those money benefits/ rehabilitative temporary total disability benefits are only payable when the injured worker is approved for a state-sponsored retraining program.
The Reemployment Services Program looks at the following factors when determining a return to work plan: age, education, work history, transferrable skills, previous occupation, injury, and average weekly wage at the time of injury.
If you have questions regarding retraining, or other benefits related to Florida workers’ compensation claims, contact our office for a free consultation.