Work comp: DLI's Vocational Rehabilitation unit (VRU)
About DLI's Vocational Rehabilitation unit (VRU)
The 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 before, rather than after, a determination of liability by the courts.
View/print DLI's Vocational Rehabilitation unit brochure
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 12 QRCs in six regional locations throughout Minnesota.
VRU success stories
Erik had been unemployed for years when his QRC from our Vocational Rehabilitation unit (VRU) was assigned to help him. 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
If you are an injured worker whose workers' compensation claim is denied or there is a dispute about the medical causation of your injury, you or your attorney need to file a Claim Petition or Objection to Discontinuance form to find out if you qualify for VRU services. 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 form 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.
Referral to VRU through QRC withdrawal
For a referral to VRU through QRC withdrawal, follow the guidelines outlined on pages five and six of the August 2015 edition of COMPACT (the Workers' Compensation Division's quarterly newsletter).
Where to send documents
Documents for DLI's Vocational Rehabilitation unit should be:
faxed to 651-284-5734; or
mailed to Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Vocational Rehabilitation unit, P.O. Box 64223, St. Paul, MN 55164-0223.
616 America Ave. N.W., Suite 300
Bemidji, MN 56601
Phone: 218-308-2080 or 888-234-1116
525 Lake Ave. S., Suite 330
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: 218-733-7810 or 888-772-5500
12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 1650
Mankato, MN 56001
401 16th Street S.E.
Rochester, MN 55904
3400 First Street N., Suite 405
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Phone: 320-258-2050 or 800-657-3749
443 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN 55155
P.O. Box 64223
St. Paul, MN 55164-0223
Phone: 651-284-5038 or 888-772-5500