One of the most common questions asked by individuals receiving compensation for a work-related injury is whether they are able to work at all while they are collecting their benefits. In almost all circumstances, the answer is no. In most cases, working a second job can disqualify an individual from obtaining the benefits they need following a workplace injury or can significantly reduce the total amount of available workers’ compensation benefits.
Physical Incapability to Work
Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits are awarded to injured workers on the basis they are physically unable to perform their job activities. If an individual is physically capable of working at their full capacity, their right to wage benefits will cease. If an injured worker is capable of finding alternative work they are physically capable of performing, a judge may deem them ineligible for work-related injury benefits.
Working While Partially Disabled
In some states, including Pennsylvania, workers who become partially disabled as a result of a workplace injury may work part-time for the same employer or another employer if the employment consists of tasks within the worker’s physical abilities. However, any income from this employment will likely reduce the worker’s overall wage benefits, including the amount of compensation and the length of time payments will be made. Individuals who work while partially disabled must follow specific limitations to avoid a total loss of benefits.
Loss of Second Income
For workers who were holding two jobs at the time of a job-related injury, the ability to continue working at their second job becomes an important factor in deciding to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Many insurers will cover at least partially the loss of a second income when a work-related injury occurs. In Pennsylvania, injured employees can receive up to two-thirds of their combined average weekly wages.
Hiding Second Incomes
Jobs paying “under the table” or off the books place a workers’ compensation award in jeopardy. All additional income must be reported to the insurance carrier regardless of whether that income is taxed or not. Insurance investigators are trained to find any hidden sources of income and this type of activity will disqualify a worker from receiving benefits for their injuries. Insurance carriers may also report hidden sources of income to the appropriate government agency resulting in monetary fines and penalties for the worker.
Navigating the Workers’ Compensation System
Understanding the complexities of the workers’ compensation system often requires the assistance of an experienced work injury lawyer. Determining whether working will result in the loss of benefits is crucial to avoid additional financial stress following a workplace injury. Before resuming physical activities including working at another job, it is prudent to discuss the effects of returning to work with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Bucks County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Handle Workers’ Compensation Matters
With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the experienced Bucks County workers’ compensation lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. assist injured workers throughout Bucks County and Delaware County, Pennsylvania and South Jersey. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 888-999-1962 or submit an online inquiry form.