Can I Work While On Workers’ Compensation in Stroudsburg?
Can I Work While Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Stroudsburg?
The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system is meant to provide support to workers after they’ve been injured on the job. It will pay all their medical costs and provide wages while the worker recovers from their injuries. In the majority of workplace injury cases, the employee will receive workers’ comp benefits until they are ready to return to work. But not all workers’ comp cases are that straightforward. In some cases, an injured worker who has not fully recovered may go back to work to perform light duty assignments. This individual will continue to have medical bills, so workers’ compensation benefits will still be available to them.
However, is it possible to collect workers’ compensation benefits and work your normal job at the same time? The answer is, yes, under certain circumstances you can work and collect workers’ comp benefits. In some cases, you may be required to return to work. In other cases, it gets complicated. If you don’t understand the rules, you could lose your benefits. That’s why it’s important to speak with a Stroudsburg workers’ compensation attorney to understand your rights and to make sure you don’t lose your benefits if you return to work.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
In general, workers’ compensation is intended to cover the cost of a workplace injury. This includes medical benefits and lost wages. However, because of the workers’ compensation system, injured workers cannot file a personal injury claim against their employer for wage loss, medical expenses, or pain and suffering.
Workers’ compensation insurance may not cover some workplace accidents. For example, if a worker was injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may have their workers’ comp claim denied. The state may also deny benefits if the injury were self-inflicted or caused because the employee was violating the law or company policies.
What is Light Duty Work?
At some point during an injured worker’s recovery, the treating doctor may determine that the worker is capable of returning to work in a limited capacity. For example, if you work in a warehouse and injure your back, the doctor may let you return to work but you would not be able to lift anything over 10 pounds. This is considered light duty work. If your employer can arrange for you to handle work that fits within the doctor’s restrictions, then you must report to work or give up further medical benefits.
While you are on light duty, your employer may pay you less than your normal wages; however, you may be entitled to supplemental worker’s compensation pay during this time.
If your Stroudsburg, PA employer cannot accommodate light duty restrictions, the employee may be told not to return to work until they recover. But, some employers may create light duty jobs to get the injured worker back on the job and reduce their workers’ compensation insurance payout.
Can I Change Jobs While on Workers’ Compensation in Stroudsburg?
After a workplace accident, it isn’t surprising that a work may be considering a new career. So, is it possible to get a new job while on workers’ compensation and still receive workers’ compensation benefits?
The answer is yes, but remember the reason why you are on workers’ compensation in the first place. You are receiving benefits because you have a work-related injury and those benefits will end as soon as you have recovered.
Before accepting a new job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, discuss the situation with your treating physician. They will need to certify that the new job duties do not conflict with your treatment, nor will the job duties worsen your condition.
You will also need to notify the workers’ compensation insurance company that you are changing jobs. The workers’ compensation insurance company will need to know your new salary and benefits to make adjustments to your workers’ compensation benefits since they are tied to your injury with your previous employer. To an extent some of these benefits are “portable” should you change jobs. To protect your benefits, you should speak with an experienced Stroudsburg workers’ compensation attorney at Munley Law before accepting a new job opportunity.
How Would a Second Job Interfere With My Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The workers’ compensation wage loss benefit pays about two-thirds of your wages, up to a weekly maximum of $1,273 per week as of January 1, 2023. For many, this is a significant reduction in take-home pay, which leads many injured workers to wonder how to make extra money while on workers’ compensation. If you take on a second job while recovering from the first job, this may harm your workers’ compensation benefits, especially if you do not alert the workers’ compensation insurance company about your second job.
Even if the duties of your second job are fully compatible with your injuries, the workers’ compensation insurance could use that second income to reduce your benefits. If the insurer sees the opportunity to argue that your second job demonstrates that you are no longer injured, it will seek to terminate your benefits.
If you already had a second job when you were injured, you must report it and its salary to the workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance company cannot take the credit if you are physically able to do the other job but not physically able to do the job you were injured in.
Legally, you are to report all of your income as part of a workers’ compensation claim. You could jeopardize your workers’ compensation benefits by earning unreported income while collecting workers’ comp benefits.
What Happens If I Get Caught Working a Second Job Without Report It?
If you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits because of an injury that prevents you from working and you get caught performing similar work, you might get accused of fraud and have to pay a fine or restitution. You could even face jail time and penalties whether you work for a private employer or a government agency. The U.S. Department of Labor Office of The Inspector General conducts criminal, civil, and administrative investigations of federal laws, rules, or regulations violations related to DOL programs, grants, contracts, and operations.
Munley Law Protects Injured Workers and Their Rights
Workers’ compensation is a complex insurance program paid for by employers. It is easy to jeopardize your claim if you don’t understand the rules. Workers’ compensation insurance companies and employers will often challenge or deny a claim if they find a reason to do so, especially if a claim has the potential to be costly.
The Stroudsburg personal injury lawyers at Munley Law can assist and advise you about your workers’ compensation case from start to finish. If you have questions about returning to work after suffering a workplace injury, please let us discuss your options. If your workers’ comp claim does not account for all of your income, we can advise you of the proper steps to take.
If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim and need legal advice, our Stroudsburg workers’ compensation lawyer is here to help. Contact Munley Law today to schedule a free consultation. We are available to speak to you at any time via phone, email, or chat.
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Posted in Workers' Compensation.