Workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota typically include medical expenses and lost wages. However, for workers whose injuries are long-lasting or permanent, they may also include rehabilitation and retraining.
According to the MN Department of Labor and Industry, the state designed the vocational rehabilitation program to do two things:
- Restore the injured party to a point where he or she can resume his or her normal work functions; or
- Help the injured worker get to the point where he or she can perform work in another job that pays close to, equal to or more than his or her previous position, and which the worker enjoys.
Participation in a vocational rehabilitation program becomes necessary when any related party — including the worker, the employer and the insurer — requests it.
Disability Status Report form
The Disability Status Report often triggers the need for vocational rehabilitation. Per the DLI, the insurer must send the employer a DSR when one of three conditions is met. The first is that the insurer receives knowledge that the employee’s temporary total disability will likely exceed 13 cumulative weeks. The second is that the worker fails to return to work within 90 calendar days of sustaining the injury. The third and final condition is that the worker or employer requested a rehabilitation consultation.
Vocational rehabilitation waiver
In some cases, the employer may waive his or her obligation to invest in vocational rehabilitation for an injured worker. The DLI may grant the waiver if the employer can show proof that he or she offered the employee suitable and gainful employment. The employee must sign the waiver, and the doctor must agree that the new position is within the outlined restrictions.