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Workers' compensation -- DLI's Vocational Rehabilitation unit (VRU)



About VRU

VRU:  vocational counseling, medical management, computer training, return-to-work servicesThe Department of Labor and Industry's Vocational Rehabilitation unit (VRU) provides vocational rehabilitation services to injured workers whose claims have been denied by the employer/insurer. The legislative rationale was labeled "early (vocational rehabilitation) intervention" to provide needed vocational assistance to injured workers prior to, rather than after, a determination of liability by the courts.

These services are provided or coordinated by vocational rehabilitation counselors who are registered as qualified rehabilitation consultants (QRCs). Injured workers have the right to choose a QRC, to take an active part in developing their own written rehabilitation plan and to comment on or rate the services provided by VRU.

QRCs are neutral parties in the rehabilitation process. They are professionals who have knowledge of medical factors, local labor markets and statutes concerning rehabilitation within Minnesota's workers' compensation law.

Although all injured workers are eligible, the Vocational Rehabilitation unit primarily serves claims where liability is denied by the insurer. The unit has 13 QRCs in eight regional locations throughout Minnesota.

VRU success stories

  • Erik had been unemployed for years when his qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) from the Department of Labor and Industry's Vocational Rehabilitation unit (VRU) was assigned to help. After two surgeries for a long-standing back injury, Erik's VRU QRC assisted in finding him full-time employment, within his physical abilities, working for a specialty manufacturer and earning $18 an hour.

  • Judy loved her custodial job, but developed significant arm problems at work. After Judy had surgery and was assigned permanent restrictions, her VRU QRC worked closely with her employer to develop a modified full-time custodial job where Judy earns more than $17 an hour.

  • Bill was employed in production and suffered a low back injury. His employer did not have work available within Bill's restrictions so Bill started a job search. His VRU QRC assisted him in finding a temporary, full-time position at $12 an hour. The VRU QRC continued to provide support for Bill until he secured a permanent, full-time position in another production industry, within his restrictions. He now earns $17 an hour, $2 an hour more than his date-of-injury wage.

  • Juan, a maintenance worker, was earning $13 an hour when he suffered a low back injury. Following surgery, a VRU QRC worked proactively with Juan and the treating physician to facilitate physical therapy and then to identify permanent limitations for a safe and suitable return to work. After a five-month job search with the support of his VRU QRC, Juan was hired to perform work for a new employer. He is now earning a slightly higher hourly wage.

Request a consultation

In the case of a denied claim or a dispute about medical causation, to qualify for services provided by VRU, the injured worker or their attorney needs to initiate a dispute by filing a Claim Petition or Objection to Discontinuance with the court. If you don't have a work injury, but are disabled and need rehabilitation services, you may contact the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) or your local DEED WorkForce Center to request the services of a DEED counselor.

DLI Vocational Rehabilitation unit locations

Bemidji
616 America Ave. N.W., Suite 300
Bemidji, MN  56601

Phone:  (218) 308-2080; 1-888-234-1116
Fax:  (218) 755-0010

Duluth
525 Lake Ave. S., Suite 330
Duluth, MN  55802-2368

Phone:  (218) 733-7810; 1-888-772-5500
Fax:  (218) 723-2362

Hibbing
3920 13th Ave. E.
Hibbing, MN  55746

Phone:  (218) 231-8991; 1-800-657-3768
Fax:  (218) 262-7304

Mankato
12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 1650
Mankato, MN  56001-7706

Phone:  (507) 304-6507; 1-877-348-0508
Fax:  (507) 389-2746

Rochester
401 16th Street S.E.
Rochester, MN  55904

Phone:  (507) 280-3562; 1-800-657-3950
Fax:  (507) 280-5535

St. Cloud
3400 First Street N., Suite 405
St. Cloud, MN  56303

Phone:  (320) 258-2050; 1-800-657-3749
Fax:  (320) 255-3951

St. Paul, metro office
443 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN  55155

Phone:  (651) 284-5038; 1-888-772-5500
Fax:  (651) 284-5734

 

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