Benefits: Rehabilitation Benefits: Retraining

Skiff v. Montana State Fund [03/06/09] 2009 MTWCC 8 The claimant rejected the vocational rehabilitation counselor’s proposal and failed to respond to the insurer’s request for input. Therefore, no vocational plan was developed. Without some sort of participation, feedback, or input from the claimant as to why he rejected the proposal, whether any part of the proposal was potentially acceptable to him, or what type of vocational retraining and future career options he might be willing to consider, the insurer could not attempt to develop a vocational rehabilitation plan, and therefore cannot be found unreasonable for failing to do so.
Gates v. Liberty NW Ins. Co. [2/13/96] 1995 MTWCC 114A Section 39-71-2001(3), MCA (1993), which requires that a worker unable to return to his time-of-injury job be provided eight weeks of rehabilitation benefits at a minimum, applies only when the worker cannot perform the job, not to situations where the worker is able to perform the job but it has been eliminated or filled by someone else.

Gates v. Liberty NW Ins. Co. [12/29/95] 1995 MTWCC 11 If a rehabilitation plan calls for retraining, then a reasonable time must be allowed for claimant to find work upon completion of the plan, at a minimum eight weeks, before wage loss is assessed.

Gjerde v. Employers Ins. of Wausau [12/09/94] 1994 MTWCC 111 Considering claimant’s age, education, training, work history, residual physical capacities, and vocational interests, his desire for two years of rehabilitation benefits to obtain certification in computer programming and business management at a technical college is not a reasonable vocational goal that would significantly enhance his earning potential requiring the insurer to approve his vocational plan, which was not approved by a vocational counselor. Claimant has already had two years of schooling and failed to diligently pursue the career for which he prepared; his motivation and follow-up are questionable.