Workers’ compensation is designed to pay you in the event you are hurt and unable to work, while unemployment is designed to pay you if you can’t find work. They are similar in nature, but can a person simultaneously collect workers’ compensation benefits and employment benefits at the same time? We explore that question and provide an answer in today’s blog.
Workers’ Compensation Vs. Unemployment Benefits
At the most basic level, you are allowed to collect both workers’ compensation and unemployment at the same time. However, the process for collecting them is complicated and you must meet certain specifications. If you’re not careful, it’s very easy to commit benefit fraud or forfeit one of your benefits, which is why you should always consult a workers’ compensation attorney if you believe you may eligible for both options.
For starters, let’s take a closer look at the two types of benefits described above:
Workers’ Compensation – Work comp is provided to individuals who are unable to continue working their job due to an injury they suffered on the job.
Unemployment Benefits – Unemployment benefits pay workers who are physically able to work, but do not currently hold a job.
These are basic definitions that by no means cover the full scope of the benefits, but you can see how they can contradict one another. One provides benefits for someone who has a job but can’t work due to injury, and the other provides compensation for a physically capable worker who does not have a job. Therefore, you would think that you could not collect both benefits at the same time. But you’d be wrong.
Dual Benefit Collection
In order to be eligible to collect both benefits, certain factors must be present. The only way you’ll be eligible to collect both workers’ compensation and and unemployment is if your wage loss benefits are lower than what you’d receive if you were collecting unemployment.
When working with a lawyer, your wage loss benefits should almost always be higher than the unemployment benefit rate (50 percent of your base weekly earnings), but sometimes the math can get messed up if you try to file on your own, or worse, you trust that the insurance company uses the right numbers and comes up with the correct equation. If your wage loss benefits are less than 50 percent of your normal pay, you may be able to offset this difference by collecting unemployment benefits.
It’s very important to go through a lawyer when trying to collect workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits. Not only can they maximize your claim, but they can also avoid problems if you file incorrectly and end up getting a fraudulent overpayment. Even if the overpayment was an oversight and you didn’t realize it, you can still be held liable for that money and it can result in the termination of your benefits.
If you want to ensure your workers’ compensation claim or unemployment benefits are maximized and paid correctly, do yourself a favor and contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like Dean Margolis.
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