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Vocational Rehabilitation

An employee who sustains a work injury resulting in permanent restrictions that prevent him or her from returning to his or her pre-injury employment may be eligible for retraining, including additional temporary total disability benefits while participating in a retraining program, plus reimbursement of certain other expenses.

The purpose of vocational rehabilitation is to train injured workers so that they can make the same salary as they did before they were hurt.

When an employee receives permanent restrictions they must provide those restrictions to the employer so the employer can determine whether they have a job for the injured worker. If no jobs are available with the employer then the employee works with the Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)[1] to develop a plan for employment. Some employment plans have a retraining component. If the employee enrolls in the retraining program, the employee may be entitled to additional temporary total disability benefits for up to 80 weeks during the retraining period. The employee may also be entitled to reimbursement for necessary expenses for travel, lodging, meals, tuition, fees and books relating to the retraining program.

[1] DVR funding is limited and thus some disabled individuals are placed in a closed category which means that DVR does not have funding to serve them. This means that the disabled employee would need to proceed with a private rehabilitation counselor to develop a plan for employment.