Benefits: Rehabilitation Benefits: Early Return to Work

Huffman v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co. [11/16/98] 1998 MTWCC 83 The fact that a claimant has returned to a job other than the time-of-injury job upon reaching MMI does not necessarily terminate the claimant's eligibility for rehabilitation benefits where the evidence indicates claimant has in fact suffered a wage loss. While the legislature intended a quick return to work, that does not foreclose entitlement to rehabilitation benefits without consideration to whether retraining will improve claimant's position in the job market, even though he might be able to obtain some employment without retraining. Denying rehabilitation benefits to disabled workers who find immediate employment upon reaching MMI would discourage an early return to work and would force workers to remain idle in cases where the insurer disputes their entitlement to rehabilitation benefits.