Can You Claim Unemployment and Workers Comp at the Same Time?

Unemployment and workers comp are benefits you can usually get if you cannot work. But can you get both at the same time?

The short answer is yes. Collecting unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits simultaneously is possible, but this usually only applies to specific circumstances. In most cases, people who qualify for workers’ compensation won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits, while claiming unemployment benefits may affect your eligibility for workers’ compensation.

We created this quick guide to help you better gauge your chances of getting unemployment and workers comp benefits simultaneously.


First, you must remember that unemployment and workers’ compensation are very different programs. Separate laws govern them, and therefore, they have different eligibility criteria. They also differ in purpose and benefit amount.


Unemployment benefits are designed for people willing and able to work but unable to find a paying job. They are a temporary aid to assist someone looking for a more permanent working arrangement.

On the other hand, workers’ compensation is for those who can’t work due to a work-related disability. Depending on the severity of the injury, this disability can be temporary or permanent.


Workers comp is implemented at the state level. So, the eligibility criteria can vary from state to state. But in general, to qualify for workers comp, you must:

  • be employed
  • have workers comp coverage
  • have a work-related injury or disability

For unemployment benefits, you’ll qualify if:

  • you’re unemployed through no fault of your own
  • you’re capable of working
  • you are actively looking for work

Like workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits are also administered at the state level, so some states have more specific requirements than others.


Unemployment benefits are publicly funded, meaning the state pays for them. Since each state has different rules, unemployment benefit amounts can also vary. Your base period wages will also be used to determine your unemployment benefits.

On average, most people receive $378 in unemployment benefits a week. In Florida, however, the maximum amount is $275 per week.

As for workers’ compensation, it will include medical and wage loss benefits. So the amount usually depends on:

  • the severity of your injury
  • the average weekly wage from before you got injured
  • how long you’ll have to be away from work

Your medical benefits will cover all expenses necessary for your recovery. Depending on your injury, lost wages are usually 66 ⅓% of your average weekly wage.


While collecting unemployment while on workers comp is possible, it’s easier said than done.

As mentioned, you’ll only qualify for unemployment if you can and are willing to work. However, you must prove that your injury prevents you from working to receive workers’ compensation. This contradiction often prevents injured workers from claiming unemployment and workers’ compensation.

On the other hand, getting approved for unemployment means you can work. If your employer or insurance company learns this, they can decline your workers’ compensation claim. Or, if you’re already collecting workers’ compensation, they may sue you for fraud.

A workers comp attorney discusses how to claim unemployment and workers comp simultaneously.

(Related: Can You Be Legally Terminated While On Long-Term Disability?)


Getting workers comp and unemployment is difficult, but it’s doable sometimes.

In general, you can only get unemployment and workers comp at the same time if:

  • you’re fired from the job you had before your injury
  • you can’t go back to the kind of work you were doing before your injury

Getting injured at work doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t work anymore. Sometimes, an injured worker may still work, though they can’t return to the work they did before they got injured.

For instance, let’s say you were working in construction when you hurt your back in an accident. Your injury prevents you from lifting heavy objects or doing extensive physical work. You can’t go back to construction work, but you can still work a light-duty job, such as recording inventories or monitoring security cameras.

Your employer, however, is not legally required to hold your position for you. So if they don’t have any light-duty jobs to give you, they might fire you.

You can claim workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured at work. Your firing from your job won’t affect your eligibility for workers’ compensation under most circumstances.

But since you were fired from your job, you’re now unemployed. You may apply for unemployment benefits while looking for another job that accommodates your condition. If your claim is approved, you’ll receive unemployment and workers’ compensation.

However, in Florida, Worker’s Compensation insurance carrier can reduce the amount they pay you dollar for dollar by the amount to receive unemployment.

That said, receiving temporary total or partial disability benefits usually prevents you from claiming unemployment. You’ll only accept these types of workers comp if your disability prevents you from doing any kind of work or if you can work with restrictions. Claiming unemployment means you can still work; you’re not entitled to unemployment if you are on a no-work status.

VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney

Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.

Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.

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