Many clients ask if the employer or insurance carrier is required to provide job retraining if their industrial injury prevents them from returning to the job they were performing at the time of their injury. The short answer is “no”. The long answer is that there are two other alternatives for obtaining what is commonly called Vocational Rehabilitation following an on the job injury in Arizona.
The first is through the Industrial Commission’s Special Fund Division. In certain categories of cases, injured workers are eligible to have schooling paid for along with books and other expenses. The Special Fund is funded by a surcharge of 1.5 % on all workers comp premiums paid in Arizona.
The other option is through the Department of Economic Security’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. The criteria for DES voc rehab has traditionally been a little more lax than the Special Fund’s – however, with recent cutbacks in state government programs, it is unsure how likely it is that injured workers will continue to get vocational rehab through DES.
I have many clients who have taken advantage of these voc rehab programs and have actually ended up with higher salaries than they had at the time of their on the job injury. If you have any questions about retraining for a new career following an Arizona industrial injury, contact me through our website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.