April 12, 2019 Guest Post – Meuser Law Office, P.A. “Commonly Asked Rehabilitation and Retraining Questions”
- Am I entitled to rehabilitation benefits?
An employee is entitled to rehabilitation services, or the services of a QRC, if the employee is deemed a “qualified employee.” A qualified employee is:
- permanently precluded or is likely to be permanently precluded from engaging in the employee’s usual and customary occupation or from engaging in the job the employee held at the time of injury;
- cannot reasonably be expected to return to suitable gainful employment with the date-of-injury employer; and
- can reasonably be expected to return to suitable gainful employment through the provision of rehabilitation services, considering the treating physician’s opinion of the employee’s work ability.
Unfortunately, if your workers’ compensation claim is denied, the insurance company will not pay for rehabilitation services from a QRC. This means that you will need to contact an attorney who can file a rehabilitation request or a claim petition on your behalf to demand your entitlement to these benefits.
- What is a QRC?
“QRC” stands for Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant. The role of QRC is to provide vocational and medical management services to injured workers with the goal of returning the injured worker to suitable, gainful employment. A QRC will attend your medical appointments and clarify your physical restrictions with your medical providers; communicate these restrictions to your employer, the insurance company and your attorney; and help you find a job within your physical restrictions and at a wage as close as possible to your pre-injury earnings. To help you return to work, a QRC will provide you with job leads and help you with job search, interview preparation and resume formation.
- Can I change my QRC?
Yes—but there is a strict time frame in which you must make the switch to a new QRC. If you don’t have an attorney representing you, the QRC was likely assigned to you by the insurance adjuster. A QRC chosen by an insurance adjuster is ultimately going to be loyal to the insurance company and will be motivated to get you back to work as soon as possible, even if you are not physically ready to return.
Conversely, a QRC who is chosen by you (or your attorney) will be more of an advocate for you in the context of a workers’ compensation claim. A QRC that you choose will clarify your restrictions with your doctor and make sure that when you return to work, it is in a position that is physically suitable. They are not going to push you to return to work before you’re ready to do so.
Due to the importance of selecting your own QRC, I recommend that as soon as you are assigned a QRC, you speak with an attorney. An attorney can connect you with a QRC that their office uses frequently. You must make this switch within 60 days of being assigned a QRC. You are not required to provide any reason for the switch, you just have to inform the insurance company that you have elected to select your own QRC within the first 60 days.
- How does my QRC get paid?
The workers’ compensation insurer is responsible for paying for the costs and services of a QRC. An injured worker does not bear the burden of these expenses. Many times, my clients are concerned that getting a QRC will cost them money and that is simply not the case.
- Do I have to do a job search?
Yes, if you are receiving or claiming entitlement to ongoing wage loss benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, you must perform a diligent job search. This means that you must actively look for work and apply for jobs as long as you are released to return to work in some capacity. A QRC will make sure that you are performing a diligent job search and documenting that job search in a way that is accepted by the insurance company. Having a QRC on the file that knows what they are doing will protect you from any “diligent job search defense” that the insurance company may raise.
Contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office take the time with each client to help determine which benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act you are entitled as well as discuss PERA Duty Disability benefits and Healthcare Continuation Benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465, if applicable. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.