How Much Re-Training Am I Entitled To?

When it comes to determining the length of a re-training program for an injured worker, Nevada law bases this determination on the permanent partial disability (PPD) percentage that was determined by the evaluating physician. This can be problematic for some who are trying to re-enter the workforce, mainly due to extreme variations in working ability between individuals with similar PPD ratings. The type and length of vocational rehabilitation offered to a worker should be based on the injured employee’s needs, work experience, skills, previous education and training, and desires. While a good counselor can offer such training based on these factors, the actual length of time an injured employee is eligible to receive these benefits is based mainly on the permanent partial disability percentage.

Re-training Program Lengths Based on PPD Percentages

In the State of Nevada, workers compensation allows vocational rehabilitation for an injured worker in a time frame based on the worker’s PPD percentage.

  • • Workers with a percentage rating that is from 1 percent to 5 percent may receive up to 9 months of these benefits.
  • • Workers who have a disability rating from 6 percent to 10 percent may receive up to 12 months of these benefits.
  • • Those workers with a disability percentage that is 11 percent or greater may receive up to 18 months of these benefits.

Why the Re-training Law Isn’t Perfect

Because the length of time allowable to injured workers is based on the percentage of disability as determined by a rating physician, it is not always based on the worker’s actual injuries or limitations. In addition, allowable training lengths for different types of jobs do not always make sense, either. For example, someone attending vocational rehabilitation for a desk job may not necessarily need a longer length of time to learn the skills that are necessary for these types of jobs. In the same way, those in a re-training program for manual labor jobs may not do well with a shorter training program, especially if the disability will require learning new ways to use the injured body part to perform required job duties.

Injured Workers with Exceptional Circumstances

The State of Nevada does make allowances for severely injured employees or for workers with exceptional circumstances. Extra time may be granted in these cases if the insurer feels it is necessary. An injured employee may request an extension in writing, but the insurer’s decision is final and may not be appealed.

When the Insurer Provides Less than the Maximum Allowable Time

The specific wording of the workers compensation guidelines in Nevada law allows the insurer to have absolute discretion when it comes to the time allowed for vocational rehabilitation for an injured employee. There are times when the insurer will only approve training that takes less time than what is allowable. This can occur if the insurer believes that the worker can be successfully retrained for gainful employment in a shorter period of time.

Injured Workers with High Wages

If you were earning high wages before your injury and are unable to return to the type of work you were engaged in previously, it is not realistic to expect to earn high wages when starting over on a new career path. Limitations on the length of these training programs makes it exceedingly difficult to offer the education and skills necessary to earn high dollar amounts in an entry-level position. However, if you make the most of the opportunities that are provided to you, you can start in a new career field and possibly work your way up to a higher paying job opportunity as you gain more knowledge and experience in the new field.

Legal Resources for Vocational Re-training Programs

If you are receiving workers compensation benefits and are qualified to receive vocational rehabilitation, it is often difficult to know where to start or what to expect. The experienced attorneys at the Morris/Anderson Law Firm can help answer any questions you may have and help you through the process of re-training for a new and satisfying career path.

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