Categorized In: Case Services - Referral to Eligibility
Approved Date: October 02, 2018
Owner: Angela Fujan
Nebraska VR Rehabilitation and Service Specialists are not certified by the Workers' Compensation Court to act as a Workers’ Compensation court-certified counselor for an injured worker.
Nebraska VR does not provide vocational assessments or evaluations requested by attorneys, insurance companies, or private rehabilitation counselors for the purpose of seeking benefits through the Workers' Compensation Court for an injured worker.
Nebraska VR is able to provide and purchase services to an individual being served under a Workers' Compensation Court approved rehabilitation plan as long as
It is permissible for Nebraska VR staff to provide job placement services to WC clients when these services are requested by an individual’s Court-Certified Rehab Counselor.
- Worker’s Compensation case is closed/settled – proceed as typical VR referral.
- WC case not settled – determine the following:
- Maximum Medical Improvement (permanent impairment & released to work)
- If so, has a Court Certified Rehabilitation Specialist been assigned?
- If so, discuss direction of WC Case and what additional services VR can provide
- Determine request for services is consistent with NE VR Policy
- Add all involved parties to VR Release form.
- Information to justify the job goal and plan can be obtained from the court-certified and the individual
- IPE job goal must match the WC Plan job goal, but not duplicate services.
- Disagreement about job goal should be addressed with the court-certified rehab counselor by the VR specialist and office director
- If not resolved, contact the VR Director of Counseling
- If the WC case is settled/closed - proceed as a regular VR referral.
- If the WC case is not settled - determine if the applicant has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
- If the individual has NOT reached MMI - Do not proceed with the VR Application. It is difficult to determine VR Eligibility until MMI has been met, as there is a question of permanent impairment. Explain this to the applicant and encourage him or her to recontact Nebraska VR after reaching MMI.
- If the individual has reached MMI it is recommended the individual and the VR Specialist or Office Director contact the Court Certified Rehabilitation Specialist (if one has been assigned) while the client is in the VR office to understand the direction of the WC case and what additional services NE VR can provide. If a decision is made to open a NE VR case the Court Certified Rehabilitation Specialist should be added to the information release for future communication. If the client has a Worker Compensation Lawyer his/her name should also be added to the release.
- An individual being referred to NE VR can be referred for one of two reasons:
- Placement Services - A referral for placement services from a Court-Certified Rehab Counselor must be made to the Office Director who will assign the case to an Employment Specialist. The referral is made because the Certified Rehab Counselor have access to all available services for the WC client, except placement services.This case will still need to follow VR Eligibility and VR Process.
- Case Coordination - A referral for case coordination or a self-referral does not need to go to the Office Director first. Case coordination services provides for VR services that are not provided by the Certified Rehab Counselor, insurance company, etc. VR does not supplant services that should be provided by other agencies or individuals.
- Information required for eligibility can be obtained from the Court-Certified Rehab Counselor, Worker's Compensation Court, lawyer, medical professional and/or from the individual.
- If there is disagreement about the job readiness of the individual the VR Specialist and Office Director should discuss the issues with the Court-Certified Rehab Counselor. If resolution is not reached, contact the VR Program Director of Counseling.
- The VR Plan must be consistent with the WC Plan.
- Information needed to justify the IPE can be obtained from the Court-Certified Rehab Counselor and from the individual. The individual may have participated in vocational and/or Loss of Earnings Assessments.
- For a referral for placement services, the individual and VR Specialist must agree to the job goal on the approved Workers' Comp Plan.
- For a referral for case coordination, the IPE must include the job goal on the approved Workers' Compensation Plan and only the services that are not funded by Workers' Compensation.
- If there is disagreement about the appropriateness of the job goal, the VR specialist and Office Director should discuss the issues with the Court-Certified Rehab Counselor. If resolution is not reached, contact the VR Director of Counseling.
Workers’ Compensation Court in Nebraska is designed to provide certain benefits to employees who sustain work-related injuries or occupational diseases. Most private employers in Nebraska are covered under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act and are required to carry a workers' compensation insurance policy.
Workers who experience a work-related injury are entitled to benefits that include:
- Can the individual return to the same employer in the same position?
- Can the individual return to the same employer in a different position?
- Can the individual return to a different employer in the same position he/she was injured in?
- Can the individual return to a different employer in a different position?
- If none of the above, does the individual need to go to school to make the same wage they were injured at? WC is unable to consider training until all of the above questions have been addressed.