Workers' Compensation in NY: Rehabilitation

Posted By Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman || 22-Aug-2019

If someone has been injured on the job in New York or fallen ill due to an occupational disease, and they qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, they may be able to receive rehabilitation services. But what is rehabilitation exactly? It has to do with a treatment or a variety of treatments that are specifically designed to help someone recover from an injury, illness, or a disease. The goal of rehabilitation is to restore the person as close to a normal condition as possible.

Rehabilitation is frequently prescribed by a doctor after an illness or an injury, or when someone has suffered from:

  • An amputation
  • Cancer (including cancer caused by occupational exposure)
  • Neurological problems
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Common forms of “rehabilitation” include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and so on. Rehabilitation may involve the help of professional inhalation therapists, audiologists, registered dieticians, and other therapists.

Four General Types of Services in NY

According to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, “Rehabilitation programs offer special services designed to eliminate a disability, if possible. They also reduce or alleviate a disability to the greatest degree possible; help you return to work when possible; or provide you with aid to live and work at your maximum capability.”

The Board takes rehabilitation so seriously that it has an entire staff dedicated to it. These staff members include social workers, counselors, claims examiners, and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists. The four general types of services include 1) vocational rehabilitation, 2) selective placement programs, 3) medical rehabilitation, and 4) social services.

“If I participate in rehabilitation, will my benefits stop?” No, fortunately, that is not how it works. If someone participates in the rehabilitation services, they will not be penalized for doing what’s necessary to facilitate the healing process. Instead, their cash benefits will continue based on the extent of their disability. If such a person does return to work, they may be still entitled to workers’ comp benefits, but at a reduced rate.

Next: Returning to Work After an Injury