- Will I be able to choose the type of jobs that I attempt, or choose the location of the jobs or the hours that I work?
Yes. It is most important that your job preferences are acknowledged and respected. You can help by being as clear as you can about the reasons for those preferences and whether there are any acceptable alternatives. Your rehabilitation consultant will do their best to accommodate all your preferences and balance these against your strengths and any available opportunities. Regular discussion of these can help solve any challenges and difficulties identified.
- Will there be financial penalties if I do not accept vocational rehabilitation assistance at this time?
This depends on a person’s circumstances. One negative consequence may be that delaying rehabilitation may increase the time away from employment, and increase the difficulties when attempting to recommence employment later. For most people timing is critical. The aim is usually to commence vocational rehabilitation as soon as practical, while not so soon that the person is unable to actively participate in relevant activities.
- What if I am currently involved in legal action against my employer or employer’s insurer to be compensated for an accident or injury in the workplace?
Sometimes a legal case for compensation is adversely affected if a person refuses vocational rehabilitation when this is available. This issue can be discussed with your legal representative. Usually a compensation case can be strengthened by active and sincere participation in vocational rehabilitation.
- Will I get assistance to help with my career goals or is the assistance limited to helping me into the first available job that I can manage?
Yes. Career goals usually take priority over short term job opportunities. However under most schemes insurers need to approve new goals and they will want to know that they are the most direct pathway back to work. Exceptions can involve situations where extensive education courses and retraining are involved. Time limits on rehabilitation may mean that long periods of a year or more for education courses may not be possible in the rehabilitation plan.
- What if I don’t agree with the goals of my rehabilitation plan?
The goals can be re-discussed with your rehabilitation consultant at any time. It is very common for goals to change. An experienced rehabilitation consultant will see this as a positive development and will be keen to discuss your new goals at the earliest opportunity. Again though, the insurer will also generally need to provide approval for this.
Dr Waghorn has 24 years’ experience as a Registered Psychologist and 23 years in research. He is one of the leading experts on vocational rehabilitation including Individual Placement and Support (evidence-based supported employment) within Australia and internationally. To date Dr Waghorn has contributed to over 120 peer reviewed research publications. Most of his research has focussed on improving the recovery and social inclusion of individuals living with disabilities and health conditions.
In 2014 Dr Waghorn entered into the Disability Employment Australia Hall of Fame for his significant contribution to improving the lives and experiences of people with mental illness seeking employment. Dr Waghorn’s expertise includes an ability to simplify complex information and research to ensure that it can be practically applied in the real world. Geoff is a passionate advocate of open employment for people living with disabilities and severe mental illnesses who want to work. He has challenged low expectations in society with questions such as “show me the evidence that this person cannot work given the right support and a suitable job match