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Ohio workers' compensation and return-to-work options

Not all workers in Ohio who are injured, suffer a condition or illness on the job are permanently disabled. Oftentimes, they can get back to work with their limitations. There might be a disagreement as to how capable they are of working and what kind of work they can do. There are options if they can return to work and they cannot return to the job they did before. The Bureau of Workers' Compensation and managed care organization work in conjunction to help the claimant based on the situation.

There are four different alternatives that the BWC gives to workers if they are not able to return to their regular job. Understanding these is essential to a case: transitional, modified, light duty and alternative. Transitional will use real job duties for a certain time period. In general, it will not go beyond two or three months. This is meant to help the worker progress sufficiently to return to work at the job he or she had before going out on workers' compensation. Modified work is the type of work that accounts for various barriers that the employee has in doing basic job functions. The work given will be altered accordingly.

Light duty factors in the reduction in capacity to perform certain tasks. These tasks can be temporary or permanent. Alternative work is work that the person will be able to do if there are permanent restrictions from the tasks that the worker did in the job before the injury, illness or condition, but has other attributes and abilities that remain in place to be useful in the workplace.

There are multiple issues that can arise with workers' compensation benefits and the belief on the part of the BWC and MCO that the person can get back to work using these options. Perhaps the worker does not believe that he or she can back to work yet. The employer could resist giving different duties to the worker. With these and any other issue related to workers' compensation, a legal professional can provide representation and assistance to deal with the case.

Source: bwc.ohio.gov, "BWC Basics for Injured Workers -- Return-To-Work Services, Options, page 7," accessed on Oct. 9, 2017

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