Definition of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation is a process that enables a person who has developmental, emotional, functional, cognitive or psychological health conditions or impairments to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining or returning to employment or other useful occupation. Simply put, vocational rehabilitation is providing training in a specific trade with the aim of gaining employment. As it applies to workers' compensation, vocational rehabilitation is providing help, services and training to an injured worker with the goal of returning that worker to the previous employment status that they had before their work-related injury or illness, or to return them to a position that is similar to what they had before their injury or illness.
There are instances where an injured worker may be left with some type of permanent disability that prevents them from doing the job that they had before their injury or illness. When this is the case, the goal of vocational rehabilitation is to retrain and/or reeducate an injured worker to be able to do a different kind of work that their disability will allow them to do. Vocational rehabilitation is one of the important benefits that are provided by workers' compensation. While eligibility requirements for vocational rehabilitation vary from state to state, they usually involve things like an injured worker's medical condition, education, age and background.