After a work-related accident, you may not be able to perform the same duties when you’re ready to return to work. Some work injuries result in physical disabilities or restrictions making it necessary to learn other skills in order to be employed. In Rhode Island, there are laws that protect injured workers and give them the right to job retraining services at no cost if they are unable to return to their previous job. Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Lawyer Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Rhode Island’s Office of Rehabilitation Services offers a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program to those who have a physical, intellectual, or emotional impairment that makes employment difficult. The VR program prepares people to obtain, keep, or regain employment. This program can be used by those who were injured in a workplace accident and receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Any person who receives workers’ compensation and has a total or permanent partial disability is eligible for evaluation by a counselor of their choice for the VR program. The cost of the evaluation is paid for by workers’ compensation insurance. A vocational rehabilitation counselor will work with you to develop an individualized employment plan that takes into consideration factors such as:

  • Strengths and abilities
  • Priorities
  • Skills
  • Capabilities
  • Interests
  • Values

Any barriers to employment that you have as a result of your workplace injury will also be considered. If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, they will not be reduced or stopped as long as you are active in the job retraining program.

In cases where the injured worker refuses to participate in the VR program, workers’ comp benefits may be suspended. Once the rehabilitation program has been completed, an adjustment to the worker’s earning capacity may be re-evaluated by the court, and benefits may be adjusted unless the worker is able to return to their prior employment.

Workers’ Compensation Job Retraining Services

The VR program has many benefits for those enrolled. Some of the benefits and services offered include:

Counseling and Guidance

A counselor will help you set realistic goals and work with you to develop the skills needed for a career. Counseling is provided throughout the duration of the program and is covered by insurance.

Diagnostic Services

Diagnostic services such as medical and psychological examinations and audiological testing can be used to determine the types of services needed for your specific disability.


Education such as vocational, technical, college, and on-the-job training is offered to help prepare you for your next job. Training is also available to help with independent living skills and work adjustments.

Vocational Evaluations

To better understand your job potential, evaluations on your interests, work tolerance, and general abilities will be used to determine the type of job best suited for your needs.

Restoration Services

If you require medical services such as physical therapy or equipment such as a wheelchair, those will be provided to help with your pursuit of employment. In many cases, physical therapy may be ongoing while the worker is in job retraining.

Job Placement Assistance

To help secure employment, there is job placement assistance such as job development and job seeking programs available to workers. A counselor may provide job leads or contact employers on your behalf to help you secure employment.

Support Services

There are a variety of support services offered such as those that make modifications to vehicles or job sites, occupational tools, licenses, and equipment. In addition, room and board and transportation costs are also covered under the program while the worker is participating or being evaluated.

Have You Been Injured on the Job in Rhode Island?

If you've been hurt at work, you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help work injury victims in Providence, Warwick, and all areas of Rhode Island.


Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.