Am I Entitled to a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant?
What is a QRC?
A Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant or a "QRC" provides independent, vocational rehabilitation services to injured workers in Minnesota who are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. They are professionals who must be registered with the Department of Labor and Industry and serve a one-year internship.
Am I entitled to a QRC?
If you are injured at work you have the right to request a consultation with a QRC at any time. The QRC will then determine if you are a "qualified employee," and thus, entitled to the assistance of a QRC.
A qualified employee is:
"an employee who, because of the effects of a work-related injury or disease, whether or not combined with the effects of a prior injury or disability:
A. is permanently precluded or is likely to be permanently precluded from engaging in the employee's usual and customary occupation or from engaging in the job the employee held at the time of injury;
B. cannot reasonably be expected to return to suitable gainful employment with the date-of injury employer; and
C. can reasonably be expected to return to suitable gainful employment through the provision of rehabilitation services, considering the treating physician's opinion of the employee's work ability."
What can a QRC do for me?
A good QRC is an invaluable tool to help you navigate the workers' compensation system. A QRC acts as an intermediary between you, your employer, and your medical providers to help you get back to work to a job you can actually physically or mentally do. For example, a QRC can help you explore whether there’s a position with your same employer that can accommodate your injuries at or near your same wage with or if you need to seek new employment.
Other services offered by a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant are:
- Job placement
- Medical management
- Vocational counseling and guidance
- On-Site job analysis
- Transferable skills analysis
- Vocational testing
- Retraining plans
- Manage your rehabilitation
- Job modifications and adaptations
- Functional capacities evaluations
- Coordination of return to work with the same employer
- Job seeking assistance
If your case goes to a hearing in front of a workers’ compensation judge then the QRC can testify at the hearing. The QRC is an independent party who’s goal is to get you back to work to suitable employment.
Why hasn't my employer told me I'm entitled to a QRC or that I can choose my own?
Because you didn't ask.
All employees who are injured at work are entitled to a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant pursuant to Minnesota Statute 176.102, Subd. 4(a) and that the consultation MUST be provided if requested by the employee.
Many employers and work comp insurers will not assign you a QRC, even though you maybe entitled to their services because they do not want to pay for a QRC’s services. Other times, even though you have the absolute right to choose your own QRC within the first 60 days of being assigned a QRC, they will choose a QRC right away so that the clock begins to tick and limits your opportunity to select your own. Regardless of who chooses the QRC, your employer and work comp insurance carrier are statutorily required to pay for the services of a QRC.
Unfortunately, not picking your own QRC can be a costly mistake. If the employer picks the QRC, he or she might not act in your best interests; he or she may lobby for you to return to work when you aren't ready, minimize your injuries, or pressure your doctor to decrease your restrictions. For these reasons, be leery of a QRC chosen by your employer’s insurance company. The wrong QRC can significantly adversely affect your benefits.
If your employer didn't tell you that you are entitled to a QRC, what else aren't they telling you? What other benefits are you missing out on?
At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we know which workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to and if you are entitled to a QRC. If you are, we have the knowledge and resources to connect you with a QRC you can trust to act in your best interests. Contact us today for a free consultation.