As a vocational rehabilitation counselor and supervisor for over 10 years, I have seen firsthand many abuses in this system. I have seen injured workers referred to as many as five primary physicians, each of whom referred him to additional specialists. I have seen attorneys block or delay action, which improves their monetary reward, at the expense of their clients. I have seen many undocumented workers come across the border, file a claim, become retrained, settle their cases, and return to Mexico to start a business. I have also seen rehabilitation counselors recommend ridiculous costly programs of no benefit to the injured worker.
However, your editorial asks a question that can be easily answered: "why the system requires employers to provide redundant benefits in both vocational rehabilitation and permanent disability." For example, if a carpenter earning $20-$25 per hour is injured, he needs to be retrained; however, he is looking at a maximum entry level salary in a new occupation of $8-$10 per hour. The settlement is provided to assist him and his family in what will be a major financial adjustment.