Do I Qualify for Retraining After Injury on the Job?

Question:

I worked for an oil and fuel supplier as a truck driver. While on the job last Sep. or Oct. I hurt my knee, went to my doctor and she suspected a menincus tear. At that time I turned it into the company, went to work comp doctor, and was allowed to have surgery by the surgeon my physician had referred me to.
After surgery I was informed that I have what is called chondrocalinosis, (pseudogout in that knee). I have been off work every since, and collecting weekly benefits. After injections and everything the surgeon could think of to reduce the pain and swelling he suggested perhaps another surgery may help.
I was referrdd to the work comp doctor who concluded the diagnosis and that possibly another surgery would help. I am also being told that I need to consider a career change, as I am unable to sit for prolonged periods, or squat or lift. At age 50 I find this thought quite scary, and am not trained to do anything else. Would I qualify for any kind of training, or disability?

–Roy, Lamoni, IA

Answer:

Your employer’s insurance company would like nothing more than to cut your benefits off because you don’t do a proper job search. This is what you have to watch out for. You need to know your rights and obligations under Iowa law and to do a proper job search, if its required here.
WC laws in many of the States in our nation allow for vocational rehabilitation to be performed. Whenever one of our clients require a career change due to injury, we have the client meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor. The injured client then goes through testing to see what types of jobs they would enjoy and would most likely be successful at.
Further, we perform job searches to help find another job. Yes, it is scary, but it’s still your own life and you control it. Just make sure you’re protected. Hire an Iowa Workers Compensation specialist. Make sure that firm frequently deals with vocational rehabilitation counselors for this very reason. If they don’t, find someone else.