A workplace accident may not just affect your ability to do your job. It can also make you rethink your working situation. This is why it’s not uncommon for injured workers to ask: “Can I get a new job while on workers comp?”
Strictly speaking, you can. There is no law that prevents you from changing jobs while receiving workers’ compensation. But it might not be the wisest course of action as doing so can affect your benefits.
You see, workers’ compensation is designed to help injured workers meet their living expenses. It works under the assumption that said worker is not capable of doing their job or any other type of job for that matter. So if you get a new job, that just means you’re capable of working and supporting yourself.
If you’re thinking of changing jobs because you have a feeling that your employer will fire you, fear not. By law, your employer cannot fire an employee just because you filed a workers’ comp claim. But this doesn’t mean you should slack off or get into trouble with them. They can still fire you for any valid reason other than your workers’ comp claim.
How Working Affects Your Workers Comp Benefits
Workers’ compensation is administered on a state level. So the rules and provisions can vary per state. But one thing is for sure no matter what state you’re in: working can affect your workers’ comp benefits. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new job or you’re going back to the job you had before your injury. As long as you’re earning an income, you run the risk of getting your workers comp reduced or terminated.
However, you need to remember that worker’s compensation encompasses a number of benefits. In most states, getting approved for workers comp will entitle you to medical benefits and lost wages compensation.
If you get a new job, you’ll only risk losing your lost wages compensation and not your medical benefits. After all, it’s the insurance company that’s paying your benefits and not your employer. But as we said, the policies can vary per state.
In Florida for example, those who are receiving permanent total disability benefits who found a new job may not necessarily lose their benefits. Instead, they will be given an impairment rating which will become the basis of their new lost wages benefits. Their medical benefits, on the other hand, will remain unaffected.
If you’re thinking about not reporting your new job to your employer, don’t. Most insurance companies have investigators who are tasked to spy on people with workers comp claims. If they find out that you’re working but haven’t disclosed that fact to your employer, they can charge you with insurance fraud.
To avoid this scenario, you should first consult an experienced workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca before taking on a new job.
What If You Already Have a Second Job at the Time of Your Injury?
Depending on the state and the severity of your injury, you may qualify for workers comp benefits from both jobs. Provided that the employer responsible for your injury knows about your second job.
But if you’re already receiving workers comp and continue to work on your second job, you may not be eligible for total disability benefits. Being able to work at your second job means that you’re not entirely incapable of earning an income. Instead, you will only be eligible for partial disability benefits which, in most states, is considerably lesser. These benefits will continue until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Or if you are already earning equal to or more than what you were earning before your injury.
VICTOR MALCA LAW – A TRUSTED NAME IN FLORIDA
Victor Malca Law has over 25 years of litigation experience, we are the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are also recognized by our peers. Book a free consultation today.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.