Many of our clients ask if their company or the insurance company has to pay for job retraining if they are unable to return to their job due to an industrial injury. The short answer is: no. However, there are a few options for vocational rehabilitation following an Arizona work injury. The first and most common is voc rehab through the Industrial Commission of Arizona's "Special Fund". The Special Fund is funded by a surcharge on all workers comp premiums paid in the state. One of its purposes is to pay for job retraining for those whose injuries result in permanent limitations that prevent them from returning to their date of injury job. Typically, the Special Fund contracts with a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor to help the injured worker identify a field that they are interested in and help them develop a retraining program. I have had many clients who take advantage of this great benefit and actually come out with higher wages than they had before their injury.
There are other vocational rehab programs through the state and some local governments and private charities. Unfortunately, these have been largely underfunded since the onset of the Recession and I don't hear much about them anymore. For more information about Voc Rehab following an Arizona work injury, feel free to contact our office at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.
Chad Snow is a workers compensation attorney with the Arizona firm of Snow & Carpio. He can be reached at the Phoenix office at (602) 532-0700 or in Tucson at (520) 647-9000.