Job Re-Training

So what happens if I never regain enough functioning to perform my past job as a direct result of my workplace-related injuries? The answer: It depends. In fact, it can depend on many factors. If, however, you were an employee on a demanding job-one and are are no longer able to perform due to your injury-related permanent restrictions- vocational retraining is available to you under Florida law in certain circumstances.

Some Objective Evaluation Criteria. If an individual who has achieved the level of maximum medical improvement (MMI) is unable to earn at least 80% of his/her compensation rate (compensation rate is the figure that is 2/3 of the average weekly wage), he or she may eligible for vocational retraining services through the Division of Workers’ Compensation. 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 such a program is awarded, the individual would become eligible for up to 52 weeks of Rehabilitative Temporary Total Disability Benefits through the carrier (subject to the 104 week cap on temporary indemnity benefits). These benefits would be Florida-vocational-retraining, provided for an initial period of 26 weeks which could be extended by an additional 26 weeks if the person continues to be enrolled in the State sponsored program and is making sufficient academic progress.

How are vocation rehabilitation services provided? The Division will contract with a professional rehabilitation provider to provide the authorized services.

How much do the rehabilitation services cost? An injured employee is responsible for transportation expenses for all appointments. All other services are provided at no cost to eligible injured employees. If an injured employee needs immediate assistance with daily living expenses, Reemployment Services Program staff may refer individuals to community based organizations.

A brochure was recently issued by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation regarding the Reemployment Services Program. It can be viewed here. The brochure lists success stories and general information regarding the program. The brochure provides answers to many other frequently asked questions not provided for here.

Finally, for additional information regarding Florida’s Worker’s Compensation Laws and the benefits that may be available to you as a Hurt Worker, please visit the State of Florida Worker’s Compensation Benefits website for more information.