The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney” Column
By Attorneys at MACDONALD & MACDONALD PLLC
Q. I can no longer do my job due to a work injury. I asked to be retrained. Instead, the workers’ compensation insurer hired a company to “train” me how to write a resume and to make me apply for dead-end minimum wage jobs. Can I get the retraining I really need?
A. Michigan law provides that an injured worker is entitled to vocational rehabilitation that restores a worker to a ‘remunerative’ occupation. Michigan caselaw has stated for many years that it is not appropriate vocational rehabilitation to force a high wage earner to beg for dead-end low wage jobs. An injured worker can receive up to two years of paid college tuition to be restored to a remunerative or similarly paying occupation. If the insurance company is too cheap to voluntarily provide real retraining, the Workers’ Compensation Agency can order the insurance company to provide the retraining you deserve. However, you should know some judges have recently reduced benefits if they feel like you are avoiding work. Finally, if you were injured after December 19, 2011, the Republican Legislature amended the workers’ compensation law so that partially disabled workers are required to look for work or else their benefits can be reduced. Call us for assistance.
Atty. Robert J. MacDonald
–November 2007 column (updated April 2012)