The workers compensation doctor has released me to return to work, but told me I can never return to my old job because of my physical restrictions. I am worried about how I’ll get a new job. Am I entitled to keep getting my workers compensation checks while I look for a new job?
Answer: Again, as discussed previously in some of the previous FAQ responses, this will depend on whether you are under an Open Award. If you’re under an Open Award, the checks will likely not cease. If you are not, they will stop.
Be aware that if the employer is going to continue to pay your benefits under an Open Award, you may begin hearing from a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Their job is supposedly to try to find you a job, or find out what additional education and training you may need in order to obtain a job within your physical restrictions.
Many times, these folks can be very aggressive, and can essentially make your life miserable.
The fact is the real job of the vocational rehabilitation counselor, (VRC) with rare exception, is to get you to trip up by not attending scheduled meetings and not complying with his or her instructions.
The VRC may act nonchalant about your lax compliance, until one day, the employer files an Application to cut off your benefits based on your failure to comply with the Vocational Rehab program.
At that point, the Commission will usually provisionally grant the Application, meaning your benefits will immediately be cut off. It will then take several months to get to a hearing. Meanwhile, you are penniless.
Moral of the story: Do not miss any meetings or fail to apply for job leads provided for you by the Voc Rehab Counselor. If you feel the job leads are inappropriate, or not within your physical restrictions, you should contact us immediately to discuss your situation.