WHAT IS A VOCATIONAL INTERVIEW?
HOW CAN IT AFFECT YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS?
Did you know… If you have an open workers’ compensation claim, and are receiving wage loss benefits, your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier can and will try to reduce or stop your benefits at some point in time.
They will first send you for an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) with a doctor of their choice, which you must attend or face suspension of your benefits. Once their doctor issues a report as to your condition and ability to return to some type of work, be it heavy, medium, light, or sedentary (desk work), the carrier will then approach your employer to see if there is work available within those restrictions. If your employer does not have work for you to return to, then the workers’ compensation carrier will hire a vocational expert to interview you to review your past employment, transferable skills, and educational background. You should always be represented by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney during this interview process.
After the vocational interview, the vocational expert will then conduct a Labor Market Survey/Earning Power Assessment, to come up with a list of jobs generally available in your area that are within the restrictions set by their IME (Independent Medical Evaluation) doctor. While they don’t have to send you to particular available jobs to get hired, through the vocational reports mentioned above, the vocational expert will say you are capable of earning a certain dollar amount so that the workers’ compensation carrier can try to reduce or stop your benefits. This is done by them hiring a lawyer who will file the appropriate Petition to be heard by a Workers’ Compensation Judge.
If you find yourself in this situation, you also will need to hire a vocational expert, which is why you need to be represented by an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Such an attorney will know who the reputable vocational experts are to have on your side. Not only the IME Dr. and your treating Dr. need to testify as to your medical condition and capability of returning to work, but the vocational experts also need to testify either live before a workers’ compensation judge or in a deposition to be presented to a workers’ compensation judge. The workers’ compensation judge will assess the credibility of all of these witnesses as well as you, the injured worker to make a determination as to the fate of your receipt of ongoing workers’ compensation wage loss benefits.
If this happens to you or a loved one, call Robinson Law, LLC. There is strong supportive help for you.