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October 2021

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Top Questions About Vocational Rehabilitation When Returning To Work

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There are many reasons that a person might need vocational rehabilitation services when returning to work. Read on to learn more about the process and what to do next.

What is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Vocational rehabilitation is a process designed to help people with a disability either find employment, maintain their current employment, or return to employment after a period of unemployment. This covers all disabilities from functional and psychological disabilities to developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Other impairments or health disabilities are also included. 

A variety of healthcare professionals can be involved in the vocational rehabilitation process. It can also include people from a non-medical area like a disability employment advisor or career counselor. 

While the main focus of vocational rehabilitation is placed on job attainment and retention, sometimes it can extend to encompass a whole lifestyle approach. The different methods used and areas covered differ from country to country depending on funding and political support. 

What is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor?

A vocational rehabilitation counselor is someone who interviews and assesses individuals going through the vocational rehabilitation process to determine their status. They determine if they are ready for employment and what kind of work would best fit their qualifications and skills.

What is a Vocational Evaluation?

A vocational evaluation is an extensive process that happens during the vocational rehabilitation process. During the evaluation, a counselor will review medical, educational, and work skills to help determine the employment opportunities for an individual. It also includes a vocational exploration to look further into possible options. Questions include topics like work and life experience, age, length of unemployment, medical information, education, career goals, and family and personal situation.

What is a Vocational Evaluation in a Worker’s Compensation Case?

Vocational counselors in workers’ compensation cases work to facilitate a return to work for those who have had an injury or illness preventing one from resuming their usual job.  The evaluation will recommend career and vocational options given one’s education and work history and considering their residual level of functional ability.  Once a goal is identified  a vocational rehabilitation plan is created to detail the steps to achieve that goal.

What is a Vocational Rehabilitation Assessment?

A vocational rehabilitation assessment is a process that takes information about a person’s vocational preparation, employment possibilities, and physical and mental abilities and identifies the best path for them to take. 

There are many questions that come up after an injury or illness that affects a person’s ability to work. The vocational assessment can help determine what work would be best suited for a person’s abilities and what steps should be taken to get them there.

How Do I Choose the Best Vocational Evaluation Provider?

It is important to review references or reviews to ensure the best experience possible. Comparing several options and making sure the person or organization has the proper qualifications, certifications, and experience before proceeding.

How Do I Prepare for a Vocational Evaluation?

You can help the evaluation by being prepared with some necessary information. Documentation of any cognitive deficits, details about any injuries, a current resume, any educational records and certificates for training, employment history, reports from doctors and other healthcare professionals, tax returns, hospital records, and any other pertinent information that they might need to conduct the evaluation.

Occupational Resource Network has been a provider of vocational rehabilitation, evaluations, and assessments since 1995. Our licensed and certified counselors are happy to answer any questions and discuss the details of your case today!