A series of cases decided within the last year make it clear that one of the Workers’ Compensation Board priorities is to require permanently partially disabled claimants actively rehabilitate and seek employment.
Exactly what needs to be done to meet your burden to attempt to find work is not cut and dried. However, new case law has provided some guidance in this regard.
First, actively engaging in some type of retraining program, preferably with VESID, is the first step. Judges do not want to see one telephone call to VESID or just an initial consultation. Judges will want to see a steady effort to become involved with VESID’s retraining program, complete those programs, and follow through with an extensive job search which demonstrates an effort to return to the labor market after being retrained.
In addition to contacting VESID, involvement with the County One-Stop program is beneficial. Signing up with One-Stop and routinely following up to see whether there are any job matches will show a Judge that the partial disabled claimant is serious about trying to return to work.
Finally, an extensive job search with documentation regarding names, dates, types of job sought after, and copies of the job applications and/or resumes is also required by many Judges.
This all boils down to a lot of hard work on the injured workers’ part in order to continue to collect permanent partial disability payments. Unfortunately, even after all of these efforts are undertaken, a majority of claimant’s are unable to actually find work within their limitations. So long as an extensive effort to retrain and find work is demonstrated, it does not matter whether or not an actual job is landed.
If you are confused by your legal obligation to search for employment and/or being retrained, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Paul Giannetti Attorney At Law
3 Washington Sq, Albany, NY 12205-5523