When Louisianans suffer workplace injuries, workers’ compensation benefits can provide for them financially while they are unable to work and need medical care. People might be under the impression that these cases are rife with disputes and each one is scrutinized before the workers’ compensation benefits are approved. That is not the case. However, there are often disagreements between the injured worker and the insurer as to how the rehabilitation will be handled. Understanding what the law says about the alternatives for a worker who has undergone rehabilitation and can return to work, as well as retraining for a different job, are key considerations.

For workers who are not permanently disabled, the idea behind rehabilitation is that the person can get back to work and need a limited amount of retraining to do so. This rehabilitation occurs as possible. There are many options for a worker seeking to reenter the workforce. They are: returning to their previous position; returning to the job in a modified position; returning to a similar occupation that is appropriate for the person’s skills and education; obtaining on-the-job training; receiving training for fewer than 26 weeks (short-term training); securing training for more than 26 weeks but less that 12 months (long-term retraining); or becoming self-employed.

Regarding a retraining program, it must be needed and desired in order to get the worker back on the job. The worker is allowed to participate in a retraining program that can last for 26 weeks. If the workers’ compensation judge decides more time is needed, then a worker can receive more time to complete the training. Employers and insurers can voluntarily extend that period to retrain a worker. The worker is required to request and start the retraining program in the two years after temporary total disability has ended. There are other benefits that can be covered during the retraining process such as paying for room and board, lodging, and travel to the training location if it is not close to the worker’s resident or facility in which he or she is living.

Disputes can arise at any juncture with a workers’ compensation case. Getting approval is often not the issue, but the determination as to when the worker can get back on the job and what he or she can do is a problem in many cases. For workers who are dealing with this problem with their workers’ compensation case, a law firm that has helped many injured workers with their claims should be called for advice on how to proceed.