If you’ve been injured on the job and filed a workers' compensation claim, you may be wondering about whether you are able to work at another job to make ends meet, replace lost income, or stay occupied.
Put another way, can you work a second job while receiving workers’ comp benefits without losing your eligibility for these benefits and avoiding potential workers’ comp fraud charges?
Table of Contents
In this article, we’ll cover a number of topics related to workers' comp and employment.
Of course, independent insurance agents can help you determine your eligibility, how your state operates in cases like these, and much more. By consulting an independent insurance agent, you get a clear picture of your situation as well as recommendations to protect your financial future, your eligibility, how your state operates in cases like these, and much more.
Can you work somewhere else while on workers' compensation?
Yes, individuals who have the ability to work are allowed to work at a second place of employment while receiving workers’ compensation for an injury that occurred at the primary place of employment.
What kind of risks could I encounter when working while collecting workers’ compensation?
- First, be sure that you are authorized to work according to your capacity so as not to cause further injuries. While many workers may wish to remain occupied and stay employed, exacerbating conditions that need to heal may make things worse — and could potentially invalidate any future benefits should the condition worsen.
- Second, an employer who is paying for an employee’s injuries through workers’ compensation may be prompted to launch an investigation into the workers’ condition with the intent to reduce benefits or cease them entirely.
- Third, your insurer may adjust your workers’ comp benefits proportionally to the amount of income that you receive at the second job.
- Fourth, some types of employment while receiving workers’ compensation may not be approved and may result in an investigation into an employee’s allegedly fraudulent activities. Depending on the state where the fraud occurs, workers’ compensation fraud can lead, not only to serious criminal charges of felonies and misdemeanors, but also to stiff financial penalties.
That being said, choosing to continue working a second job or finding a new job while receiving workers’ comp benefits is possible if that second job is less physically demanding. This means that an injured worker receiving workers’ compensation may be able to work a second job while being unable to work their primary job because the second is within the injured/disabled worker's current capabilities.
As an example, a construction worker who got injured in an automobile accident and collects workers’ compensation benefits may choose an office job with their current employer that requires less demanding physical work without aggravating their injuries.
Before deciding on whether you should continue to be part of the workforce after receiving workers’ compensation benefits, consult an independent insurance agent. These agents can highlight potential risk factors and provide you with state-based guidelines on remaining employed while injured.
Can you receive workers' compensation benefits for two jobs?
The answer is yes, workers’ compensation benefits may cover the two jobs if you were already employed at a second, part-time job in addition to your primary job when you were injured. Depending on your ability to work at either job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits that completely or partially cover the loss of wages at the second job.
Bear in mind that there are very specific requirements to qualify for receiving workers’ compensation benefits for the loss of two sources of income. Any secondary income at the time of the workplace injury must be reported when filing your workers’ comp claim in order to qualify for receiving benefits. Failure to do so can invalidate your claim or may be construed as an attempt to commit fraud.
Again, an independent insurance agent is an indispensable partner to help you navigate complex scenarios regarding workers’ compensation and multiple jobs. Considering that every state handles workers’ compensation claims in their own way, an independent insurance agent can inform you of your rights and the likelihood that you’ll receive the benefits that you’re entitled to.
What if the employee returns to work?
If a worker is injured and isn’t able to return to their usual job, most states enable them to continue working in whatever capacity they’re able to for their employers. If possible, employers can offer either a modified or an alternative position so employees can continue working at the current location.
However, it’s important to understand that this change in position can come with reduced pay because it is not the same position. Workers’ comp provides indemnity benefits to make up for lost wages if the new position pays less, but this may only be a fraction of what the worker was once making.
When an injured employee has fully recuperated or their condition doesn’t improve beyond a certain impairment rating decided by the state, they may be ready to return to work. In this case, workers’ compensation benefits may continue or they may cease entirely.
Furthermore, when an employee receives wages that are equal to or greater than their wages prior to their work-related injury/illness, workers’ compensation benefits typically cease. On the other hand, an employee whose wages are less because of the ongoing injury may still receive continuing workers’ compensation benefits.
Of course, each state has its own designation for which employees qualify for workers’ comp insurance, how benefits are awarded, and when those benefits are modified. In order to get a clear sense of what your responsibility is according to state guidelines, contact an independent insurance agent today. They can guide you through coverage amounts based on the nature of the work, your overall payroll, and other factors.