You may be able to work while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, but you must report your earnings. Misrepresenting one’s job status while collecting temporary disability benefits is an example of workers’ compensation fraud.
If you were hurt on the job and are unable to continue to perform the same type of work, your workers’ compensation benefits can help you pay your bills, possibly a percentage of the amount you earned prior to the accident.
With your income suddenly reduced, you and your spouse may struggle to cover your rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and other essential expenses. If you expect to be out of work and collecting workers’ compensation benefits for several months, the effects of the drop in income may be compounded, and your family may be unable to get by.
You Are Allowed to Work While on Workers’ Comp—Technically
You may be thinking about looking for a new job to help make ends meet. If you had a second job before you got hurt, you may want to continue working there. Before you do either, make sure that you understand how that could affect your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
You may be able to continue working at your second job, or you may be able to take on a different job while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, if the second job will not aggravate your injuries. If you got hurt while performing physically demanding work and you cannot perform that type of work now, you may be able to take a sedentary job.
For example, you may be able to process paperwork in an office or answer customer service phone calls and still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you do so, the insurance company will adjust your workers’ compensation benefits to take your additional income into account.
You should not take a new job or continue working a second job that is as physically demanding or more demanding than the one where you got injured. If you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits because you say that you are too injured to work, and then you get caught performing demanding work that you supposedly are unable to do, you may be accused of fraud and may have to pay a fine or restitution. You may even be sentenced to time in prison.
Getting paid under the table at a second job can be risky. If you get caught working and not reporting your income, you may be charged with workers’ compensation fraud.
Getting Caught Working While Collecting Benefits
You may be caught working while on workers’ compensation if your boss, a coworker, a customer, or someone else submits an anonymous tip about your employment to your state’s workers’ compensation official. You may be recorded on surveillance video while working, or someone who does not know that you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits may post a photo or video of you working or a comment about you working on social media.
You may be subject to penalties whether you work for a private employer or for a government agency. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts criminal, civil, and administrative investigations federal laws, rules or regulations violations related to DOL programs, grants, contracts, and operations.
Get Professional Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be complicated and confusing. Since state laws vary significantly, many people have misconceptions about how the system works and what they may and may not do while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
If you had another job before you got injured, you may be able to continue working there, under some circumstances. You may also be able to take on a new job while you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to understand the rules in your state and to comply with them, so you do not get charged with fraud and face serious penalties.
An attorney who is familiar with your state’s laws and who has experience handling workers’ compensation cases in your area can tell you what you need to know and guide you through the process of filing a claim and appealing the decision if your claim is denied. A lawyer can also tell you what happens if you get caught working while on workers’ compensation.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has represented clients throughout the United States who suffered serious injuries on the job. A member of our team can work with you to help you follow your state’s laws. Call our office today at (800) 603-4224.