10.19: Rehabilitation Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 32, § 21

(1) Voluntary rehabilitation programs for disability retirees shall be developed in cooperation with the State Human Resources Division and the Industrial Accident Board and made available to any disability retiree seeking rehabilitation.

(2) Upon receipt of a request for rehabilitation from a disability retiree, the Commission shall provide an evaluation to determine whether the member might benefit from a medical or vocational rehabilitation program approved by the Commission. The Commission may require any such member to be examined and evaluated by a physician qualified to render rehabilitation services and/or by a vocational counselor selected by the Commission. The physician and/or both shall recommend the need for and nature of any such rehabilitation program. If the Commission determines that such member might benefit from any such program, it shall so notify such member and the retirement board.

(3) The board shall provide the member with a rehabilitation program consisting of services appearing on a list approved by the Commission of public or private rehabilitation agency(ies) having rehabilitation programs suitable for such member. The member shall meet with the agency selected and shall cooperate in the design of a suitable rehabilitation program. All rehabilitation programs will include a determination of the member’s potential earnings, taking into account the member’s functional capacity, age, education, and experience.

(4) If the board determines that the retired member may benefit from such rehabilitation program, and that the program is reasonable in its terms and cost, the board shall approve and offer to provide and pay for such program (less any amounts payable under insurance policies of the member and less any scholarships or grants otherwise available.) The retirement board shall submit the rehabilitation program designed for the member, including detailed cost estimates, to the Commission for review.

(5) If the board determines that the retired member shall be denied access to a rehabilitation program, the board shall so advise the member in writing, detailing its reasons for the denial. The member may appeal the board’s denial to the Commission. The appeal must be in writing and must be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the board’s denial. The Commission shall review the matter and make its determination within 60 days of receipt of the member’s appeal. If after review the Commission determines that such member might benefit from such rehabilitation program, the Commission shall approve and offer to provide and pay for such program.

(6) If the Commission approves the rehabilitation program offered by the board, the Commission shall reimburse the board for the costs of the program.

(7) The retirement allowance of a member participating in a rehabilitation program approved by the Commission shall be not be reduced or modified pursuant to M.G.L. c. 32, § 8(3) or § 91A on account of actual or potential earnings arising out of such rehabilitation program.

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