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Can You Work While on Workers Compensation?

Working while on workers compensation

If you have been involved in a workplace-related incident resulting in injury or illness, you may wonder, “Can you work while on workers compensation?” Typically, workers who are actively receiving workers compensation are not eligible to work at their primary job, and are also not eligible to seek out secondary employment. As a professional employer organization, we will review why this is the case and answer other key questions about workers compensation:

Workers Compensation Eligibility

Workers compensation is frequently misunderstood as either disability insurance or unemployment income. However, if you’ve started receiving or will soon start receiving workers compensation, it’s because you and your employer have met two primary requirements:

  1. You have been injured or have fallen ill while at work and are currently unable to perform your job duties. Workers compensation is meant to get workers who have been either injured or fallen ill at their job access to pay and benefits while in recovery. If you’ve been hurt at work and are unable to perform your workplace duties due to your injuries, workers compensation is meant to help you. 
  2. Your employer has workers compensation insurance. While workers compensation laws vary by state, most states do require businesses to have workers compensation insurance in place for their employees. There are many serious drawbacks to an organization not providing workers compensation, such as having to make out-of-pocket payments for an employee’s illness or injury, arrest and imprisonment, or even a business losing its in-state operating license. 

The details of your workplace accident and the nature of your industry can also play a role in determining your eligibility for filing a workers compensation claim. In some instances, a workplace injury may not be necessarily severe, but still prevents an employee from being able to perform their regular job duties. For example, a worker who must be on a ladder to perform their primary job duties cannot do so after breaking their leg while on the job. 

Depending on the severity of the injury, as well as its impact upon your ability to work in a specific field, you may not be eligible to work while receiving workers compensation due to the nature of your injury or illness.

Can You Work While on Workers Compensation? Why It’s Not Common

The question “can you work while on workers compensation” is important for anyone receiving these benefits to ask. You should know how receiving these benefits impacts your ability to work, either at your primary workplace or at a secondary job. You should familiarize yourself with the state laws that determine your eligibility to work while receiving workers compensation, as well as the potential penalties for not abiding by your state’s guidelines

State Laws Regarding “Can You Work While on Workers Compensation?”

In most states, employees who are receiving workers compensation are not eligible for additional employment because this would demonstrate an ability for the employee to return to work, negating the need for workers compensation. This also disqualifies workers compensation recipients from receiving unemployment benefits, since employees who receive workers compensation are still considered employees of their company. 

Penalties for Working While Receiving Workers Compensation

Working while receiving workers compensation benefits can result in a workers compensation fraud charge, resulting in fines or imprisonment depending on the severity of the case. While workers compensation is a federal program, the laws and penalties surrounding workers compensation vary from state to state. If you’re unsure of the policies that your state follows, there are resources available that can help you learn your state’s policies. 

Keeping Employees Safe in the Workplace 

While workers compensation insurance is a reliable way to ensure that employees are protected in the case of a workplace-related accident, it’s vital to create a safe and accessible workplace environment that prevents these accidents from happening. There are a few ways that businesses can keep employees protected while on the job: 

Can You Work While on Workers Compensation? Learn More with Canal HR

If you’re a small business owner who wants to learn more about workers comp regulations, employee benefits, and more, Canal HR can get the information you’ve been looking for. Contact us today to talk with one of our workers comp experts about our services and how we can get your business and employees the right protection.