Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)
Region IV Rehabilitation
The U.S. Department of Labor has a rehabilitation program which is funded by the Special Fund out of Washington, D.C. The Fund allows this office to pay for rehabilitation counselors, school tuition, training, On the Job Training assistance and a maintenance allowance for those claimants who are accepted into the program. The Carrier should use the Form LS-222 to request rehabilitation assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor after a claimant has been on compensation for 10 weeks. The carrier also has the option of obtaining rehabilitation assistance for the claimant that is paid for by the carrier.
Congress mandated in the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Amendments of 1984 that vocational rehabilitation services be made available to injured workers (IWs) who are receiving compensation, have permanent impairment, and who cannot return to their former occupation. The purpose and intent of this voluntary program is to provide prompt and timely services to injured workers which will help them to return to work at a wage as close as possible to that which they earned at the time of the injury.
Vocational assessment, counseling, and guidance provided to assist IWs in exploring their options regarding their eventual return to work.
Job development and job placement to help IW find suitable alternative employment with the former employer or elsewhere.
Vocational training to provide skills if necessary in order to place an IW or to restore his wage earning capacity. If a training plan is implemented, DOL will pay for the IW’s tuition, fees, books, etc. as necessary and required. We will also provide up to $25.00 per week to the IW to reimburse him his cost of travel and meals.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can make referrals?
IWs can be referred by anyone, including themselves. Most referrals come from the DOL Claims Examiners, but IWs can be referred by anyone (Claims Adjuster, Attorneys, Physicians, Employers, etc.) .
How can I make a referral?
Referrals should be made directly to Ms. Deborah A. Murphy, Rehabilitation Specialist, by correspondence or by telephone (904) 357-4756. Ms. Murphy will then contact the IW to explain the program and to discuss services. If the IW is interested in participating, she will then assign a DOL Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (RC) to work with the IW.
Who are your Rehabilitation Counselors (RCs) and who pays them?
The USDOL has a certification process that it uses to recruit and train RCs. Our RCs are for the most part some of the same RCs in private practice who do other work for Insurance Compaines, Employers, Attorneys, etc. The RCs working for us are paid by us. You will receive copies of their reports and be kept informed of the progress being made and developments as they occur.
Will this drag out the claim?
NO. The RCs have timeliness standards they must adhere to in the provision of services. We mandate that they quickly assess the IWs and develop a viable plan of service.
Do all IWs receive training?
NO. Training is a last resort to ensure either placement or to restore wage earning capacity. Training recommendations are closely studied to ensure that they are warranted, that the plan is feasible, and that there is a strong likelihood of a successful outcome. Most IWs receive placement assistance with either their former employer or with a new employer.
Aren’t all training programs lengthy?
NO. Most training is 2 years or less and frequently is only for several months. Training may be provided by vocational technical schools, colleges, proprietary schools, manufacturers, certification programs, and by new employers. On The Job Training (OJT), where we reimburse a new employer's portion of the IW’s wages, has been very successful in helping IWs to quickly get re-established in good jobs in the labor market.
Why use DOL Rehab?
DOL will financially manage all vocational services provided in the file.
DOL goals and your goals are the same…Help the IW return to work at a wage as close as possible to that which they earned at the date of injury, as quickly and effectively as possible.
With case law being what it is, or could be, there is no question as to the intent or the propriety of the services provided.
In District 6 we have moved beyond the traditional entry level employment positions that many injured workers were limited to in the past. Many of the traditional training programs have been altered to accommodate the specific needs of our injured workers. G.E.D. certificates are no longer mandated pre-requisites for many of the Technical Training Programs. For example, formal educational classes are now taking place during morning sessions while vocational technical training may be offered during an afternoon session. Valuable time is not wasted waiting for a high school equivalency diploma to be awarded before instruction in a new technical field can begin. This flexible and innovative approach has assisted injured workers in acquiring new skills that better prepare them for the challenges and rewards of careers that will ensure financial security and inspire pride in a job well done. Our Vocational Rehabilitation Program underscores the belief that there is value in all work and that the well-being of all individuals is enhanced when meaningful activity is secured in their vocational futures.