Florida employees injured at work may be entitled to retraining benefits. The procedure is outlined in Section 440.491 of the Florida Statutes.
Upon referral of an injured employee by the carrier (defined in section (1)(a) of 440.491), or upon the request of an injured employee, the Florida Department of Education (department) shall conduct a training and education screening to determine whether it should refer the employee for a vocational evaulation and, if appropriate, approve training and education or other vocational services for the employee. The department will not approve training and education unless it determines that the reemployment plan is likely to result in a return to suitable gainful employment.
If the department approves training and education, the money to pay for the services will come from the Workers’ Compensation Administration Trust Fund, established by s. 440.50. The training and education can be provided through community colleges, approved career centers, and other vocational services. Under some circumstances, the department will pay for a temporary residence at or near the facility where the services are being provided.
If training and education are approved after the injured employee has reached maximum medical improvement (s. 440.02(10)) and the employee is not earning at least 80% of his/her compensation rate, the employer shall pay additional temporary total compensation benefits during the period of training and education up to 26 weeks or less, although the period can be extended up to another 26 weeks if a judge of workers’ compensation claims finds that the extension is necessary and proper. Although this benefit does not extend the 104 week limit on temporary total and/or temporary partial disability benefits, the carrier may pay more if it so chooses. (One reason why the carrier may choose to pay more is to make the injured worker more employable, thus reducing its exposure for permanent and total disability benefits.)
The carrier may provide retraining at its own expense, but rarely does so.
Contact us at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your legal rights.
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.