Vocational Rehabilitation

The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) helps workers with limitations prepare for and obtain gainful employment. Here’s a fairly common situation: An auto mechanic or construction worker hurts his back and ends up needing a lumbar fusion surgery. He’s been in his career for over 25 years and the exertions have taken a toll on his body. Now, at age 52, he’s not ready to retire, but he cannot realistically return to mechanic work or construction.
The Utah Office of Rehabilitation can often help in this situation. Their website is https://jobs.utah.gov/usor/vr/index.html. Injured workers can apply for “voc rehab” online. A USOR vocational counselor will meet with the injured worker to discuss the worker’s goals, interests and aptitudes. For example, if you don’t mind working alone and love the “open road”, then USOR may help the worker obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) and become a trucker.
If USOR’s efforts are not successful, then the worker is likely a good candidate for Social Security Disability (SSDI). After all, if the vocational rehab experts at USOR cannot rehab a worker, then probably no one can. For workers under 50 years old, trying voc rehab with USOR is often a wise course of action before applying for SSDI or permanent total disability (PTD) under workers compensation. SSA and Labor Commission judges generally like to see that an injured worker has tried all his options before awarding total disability benefits, especially if the worker-applicant is under age 50. The idea is that “young dogs can learn new tricks.”
This blog is for general information. For specific advise on a specific situation, contact us at Tim Daniels Law Services for a free case review.