Can you get a pension, or total permanent disability (TPD)? This is a very common question that injured workers have for their Warm Beach worker’s compensation attorney. It’s a fair question to ask. Say a person is injured on the job in Skagit or Snohomish Counties. If that worker was earning good money as a construction worker in healthcare or at Boeing, for example, it can be a devastating blow to find out he or she probably can’t physically return to work in the future.
Everyone has heard stories from people who think they know how the worker’s compensation system works. They know someone on a pension whose injuries don’t seem as bad as their own. They want to know, “Why not me?”
The answer is that every case is different. Disability legal services can be tricky, even for a highly experienced Warm Beach worker’s compensation attorney. There is no magic button you can push to create an instant pension. While gaining a pension is absolutely possible, it doesn’t occur automatically. In most cases, it requires careful navigation of a windy path. Some individuals choose to navigate this path on their own, but without assistance, it’s easy to get lost. Without proper guidance, you may be at risk of losing your beautiful home in Everett, Marysville, or Arlington. The following can help prevent this from happening.
The Role of Your VRC
First, you will be assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC). As in any profession, some of these professionals are good, some are okay, and some are less than ideal. All will tell you that they have your best interests in mind. It’s important to realize, however, that L&I chooses and pays these professionals. Even the most sympathetic VRCs rely on this state agency for their livelihood.
Doctor-Assigned Permanent Work Restrictions
You need your doctor to assign permanent work restrictions. Do not rely on an IME doctor to do this, as any Warm Beach worker’s compensation attorney will tell you, it’s often a recipe for disaster. If you disagree with your doctor’s restrictions, however, your only choice is to find a new attending physician. This can be extremely challenging for older claims.
Transferrable Skills Identification
If you have not been released to your original job of injury, the VRC will take your work history to identify whether or not you have “transferrable skills.” This means, given your new permanent restrictions, do you have the experience necessary to go back to any old jobs you have done in the past? Given your current circumstances, do you still qualify as a viable applicant? This can be difficult to determine, as skills age out very quickly. This is one of the main reasons you need help from a Warm Beach worker’s compensation attorney.
If no transferrable skills are identifiable, the VRC will look at retraining options. Assuming your doctor has released you to retrain at a sedentary level (deskwork), then retraining options will be considered. To circumvent this step, there needs to be a legitimate reason why you can’t retrain for a new occupation. If you qualify for retraining benefits, you’ll receive two years of paid school, time-loss while attending and the support of the VRC.
Getting a Pension
Only when you don’t qualify for retraining will a pension be possible. A lawyer can discuss with you the many possible reasons why retraining may be impossible. Even in these cases, however, the department and self-insured employers often fight tooth and nail because a pension is very expensive. To ensure you receive the benefits you deserve, consider hiring a Warm Beach worker’s compensation attorney.
Remember, your rights are what are most important. If you feel you have a legitimate need for a pension, you should seek help.
Need Professional Advice from a Warm Beach Worker’s Compensation Attorney?
Do you need professional advice from a Warm Beach worker’s compensation attorney? Contact Dale Wagner Law in Stanwood today to schedule a consultation. Our practice has offered worker’s compensation and social security disability services to clients in and around Warm Beach for over 28 years.
Warm Beach Worker’s Compensation Attorney
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