When an injured worker is partially disabled, the Workers’ Compensation Board will generally require them to look for work within their medical restrictions. This is often referred to as “proof of labor market attachment.” In the Board’s view, if a person has the ability to do some kind of work and does not make an effort to find a job they can do, then their loss of wages is not due to their disability but instead is due to an unwillingness to work. Under those circumstances, the Board will deny any payment of wage loss benefits until the injured worker shows adequate proof of labor market attachment.
So how can an injured worker prove attachment to the labor market? There are three ways.
One is to use New York State’s employment services, either through the Department of Labor or a One Stop Career Center. When using this approach, it is important to keep documentation of your contact and registration with the agency, follow all instructions the agency provides, make regular and continuous efforts to use the agency’s services, and keep full documentation of all of your visits to the agency, jobs applied for through the agency, any interviews that were scheduled, and the outcome of those interviews. Simply going to the agency is not enough – you need to show a consistent and persistent effort to use the agency’s services to find employment.
Another option is to conduct your own job search. You can do that either in person or online. One disadvantage of the “do-it-yourself” approach is that it becomes your responsibility to make sure the jobs you are applying for fit your medical restrictions, as opposed to being able to rely on the state agency to do that for you. When looking for work on your own, the same rules apply as if you are using a state agency – carefully document all of your efforts and make sure they continue on a regular basis and show multiple applications each week – the more the better.
The third option is to go for job retraining or enroll in school for a degree. Job retraining services are available through the state from ACCESS-VR and the Workers’ Compensation Board. Again, it is important to keep documentation of any meetings, enrollment, registration, grades, or other information related to job retraining efforts.