It is not uncommon for employees to consider looking for a new job or career change after suffering a work-related injury. Sometimes injured employees are eager to find a new type of work in a lower-risk industry. In other situations, they may simply need to consider a career change, especially if their injury prevents them being able to do the same type of work as before.
Goldberg Finnegan answers questions about what could happen if you accepted a new job or did other work for income while still receiving workers comp benefits from your current employer.
Injured on the job and need help understanding more about your legal options while receiving benefits? Having difficulty getting your benefits? Our Silver Spring workers’ compensation attorneys available to help you with all your workers’ compensation questions and claim issues.
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What Happens to My Benefits if I Change Jobs?
Legally, you are within your rights to change jobs any time you want, even if you are still receiving workers’ compensation benefits from your current employment. That said, there are still laws that apply, and any decision you make to take another full-time job, or even a secondary job, can impact your weekly benefit amount.
If you are considering other or additional employment, it is important to understand that:
- Your benefits cannot be canceled solely because you change jobs
- Your benefits cannot be canceled if you accept light-duty work that pays a reduced salary
- Your benefits cannot be canceled solely because you take a different, lesser-paying job
That said, if you do take another job while receiving benefits, it is important to understand how that decision could impact the amount of benefits you may continue to receive. While you may still receive a partial benefit, your weekly pay rate may not be the same as when you first started receiving your benefits. Additionally, if your new job pays you the same as what you made at your former position, your benefits will cease.
What if I Took a Secondary Part-Time Job?
We understand that some injured workers may consider a second job to help fill in financially where workers’ compensation leaves off. However, as with any income received, it will reduce the amount of your existing weekly benefit. If you get paid and do not report the income, and you continue taking workers’ comp benefits, it is considered insurance fraud.
Why Injured Workers May Consider Changing Jobs
There are several reasons an injured worker may consider a career or job change while still receiving workers’ compensation claim benefits, including:
- They found a less demanding job that meets their doctor’s recommended physical restrictions but pays the same.
- They found a job that, although it pays less, meets the doctor’s recommended physical restrictions, and enables them to move forward.
With this option, an injured worker may still be eligible to receive partial benefits from their workers’ comp claim.
Factors to Consider Before Taking a New Job
While there are many reasons, both financial and personal, that may make a new job appealing, it is important to remember these possible downsides and risks as well:
- Going back to work before you have fully recovered could put you at risk for reinjury.
- Returning to work too soon could hurt your recovery progress or even keep you from fully recovering.
Another consideration is that your employer is not legally required to hold your job for you, so once you make a full recovery, your position may no longer be available. Your employer is also not legally required to offer you alternative work.
What if I am Cleared for Light-Duty Work?
If your doctor clears you to go back to work and thinks there is no risk to your recovery in doing so, this may be the best option for moving forward. Receiving a partial wage for too long can put anyone in serious financial trouble.
Need Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim? Call Our Firm Today
Our attorneys have extensive experience and understand that workers’ compensation laws can be confusing, leaving injured employees with more questions than answers about their benefits. We are prepared to help you with each step of your claim, including if your claim was initially denied or if you need assistance filing your initial application.
Call our law offices 24/7 to schedule your completely free legal consultation. There is no obligation for you to work with our firm after this meeting, but it can help you to understand your legal options. If we represent you, there is nothing to pay up front or while we work on your case. We do not collect our fees until we obtain benefits for you.