You May Qualify For Vocational Rehabilitation
An employee whose occupational injury precludes them from returning to work in same capacity, is entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation and job placement services are available through the Oklahoma Worker’s Compensation Court. Use of these services is available by showing a need. If the injured employee can show that they cannot return to work in the same or similar capacity, then they are entitled to vocational rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is limited in time and scope by statute:
Vocational rehabilitation services or training shall not extend for a period of more than fifty-two (52) weeks. This period may be extended for an additional fifty-two (52) weeks or portion thereof by special order of the Court, after affording the interested parties an opportunity to be heard. A request for vocational rehabilitation services or training may be filed with the Administrator by an interested party at any time after the date of injury but not later than sixty (60) days from the date of the final determination that permanent partial disability benefits are payable to the employee.
The Worker’s Compensation Court determines need considering the employee’s activity restrictions and the requirements of the employee’s previous job. If qualified, the employee will be eligible to receive books and tuition at a state vocational or trade school for enrollment in a program that can be completed in 52 weeks or fewer. An employee who takes advantage of this program will not be entitled to wage replacement benefits, subject to exception.