If you are partially disabled and claiming or collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits in New York State, it is crucial that you remain attached to the labor market.
Attachment to the labor market means that you are taking certain steps to find employment within your physical limitations. By definition, if you are partially disabled you cannot do your usual job but you may be able to do lighter type work.
- Begin an independent job search for light work that you may be able to do. It is easy to conduct a job search from home if you have internet access. Documenting each and every job inquiry or application is important. You can submit hundreds of job applications without spending a lot of time on it. Don’t apply to jobs that you know that you can’t do, apply to very light jobs. I cannot stress how important it is to demonstrate that you have sought that you tried to find light work. Many Judges find that 50-75 application is sufficient for the purpose of an independent job search.
- Contact VESID and follow-up with them. It is crucial that you contact VESID and attend one of their orientation sessions. After orientation you must follow up with their recommendations and be re-trained in whatever arena is recommended. When giving testimony, the last thing a Law Judge wants to hear is that you contacted VESID once but they never called you back. You need to aggressively pursue the initial appointment and follow-up appointments with them until your re-training is complete.
- Contact One-Stop. If you are partially disabled and receiving partial compensation, you may also qualify for unemployment benefits. One-Stop is a computer database affiliated with the Department of Labor. Each county has a One-Stop location and you should visit that location and register in their computer database. Thereafter you should regularly visit One-Stop to see whether there are any available jobs that fit your physical limitations. Do not go to One-Stop once or twice. Go at least once or twice a week, every week.
The above steps require a significant effort on the part of the injured worker. Failure to take these steps can result in suspension of benefits.