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Return-to-Work Programs: What Injured Employees Should Know

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Return-to-Work Programs: What Injured Employees Should Know

Mitchell Byrd, Attorney, Carolina Law Group, Greenville, SC

Mitchell K. Byrd, Jr. | Attorney

One of the primary goals of workers’ compensation in South Carolina is to help an injured or ill employee heal so they can get back to work as soon as they’re able. To facilitate this, many employers have so-called “return-to-work” programs.

Here’s what you should know about return-to-work programs in South Carolina, plus special considerations if you’re receiving workers’ comp benefits.

Return-to-Work Programs in South Carolina

Return-to-work programs are not uniform, statewide programs used by all employers across South Carolina. Instead, “return-to-work” is a general term referring to initiatives used by individual employers to help workers get back to work after being away from their job. This can include workers returning after a work-related illness or injury, workers coming back after a non-work-related illness or injury, parents returning from parental leave, and others.

The main goal of a return-to-work program is to get the employee back to their job as soon as they are ready for it. An injured worker taking part in such a program may, for example, have some time away from work entirely while healing, followed by a period of transitional work that accommodates their injuries, followed by a return to their original job.

“When Will I Return to Work After a Work-Related Injury in South Carolina?”

If you’ve been injured on the job, you might be wondering when exactly you will return to your job. This depends on the nature and severity of your injury, the nature of your job, and your doctor’s professional opinion.

After your injury, your authorized treating doctor* may determine that you are able to:

        Return to your job right away

        Return to your job after a certain period of time

        Return to work right away but in a different role with duties you can perform with your injuries, i.e., “light duty” work

According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC), you must accept an offer of light duty work from your employer if you want to continue to receive compensation. Refusing an offer of work may lead to termination of benefits.

*Remember that you must use the doctor authorized by your employer or employer’s insurance in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

What If You Disagree with the Doctor’s Determination?

You might disagree with your doctor’s assessment of your ability to work. If that happens to you, you have options.

You can request a hearing through the SCWCC. A commissioner will hear testimony, take evidence, and make a decision on your case. Fill out Form 50 (find it here) to request a hearing. A $50 fee is required when requesting a hearing.


You can contact a workers’ comp lawyer to help you navigate the workers’ comp system and advise you on next steps.

Talk to the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

If you’ve been away from work due to a work-related injury or illness, give us a call here at The Carolina Law Group. We can help you understand how the system works and which benefits you’re entitled to under the law – and help make sure you’re getting all the compensation you deserve. If you disagree with your doctor’s determination regarding return to work, aren’t getting the amount of compensation you expected, or have run into another roadblock, call us today at one of the numbers below to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and you have nothing to lose.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.


Mitchell Byrd received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wofford College in 2000. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2004, where he served on the American Bar Association Real Property, Probate, and Trust Journal. He was also an active member of the University of South Carolina Moot Court Bar. Since being sworn into the South Carolina Bar in 2004, Mr. Byrd has focused on litigation, within the criminal justice system as an economics crime prosecutor for the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and also within the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system.

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