Getting injured on the job is an upsetting experience for anyone, especially if it’s severe enough that you need to take medical leave for treatment and recovery. Fortunately, you don’t have to face this costly experience on your own because workers compensation laws require responsible employers to help you pay for medical bills and make up for the pay you would have gained if not for recovering from the injury. Often, if the injury is severe enough to keep you away from work, the medical advice given by doctors is to rest. However, many people have trouble not working and will find themselves wondering about how their worker’s compensation payments might stack on a light duty job during recovery. If you’re wondering if you can work while on workers comp, the answer yes but not on full pay and here’s why:
Wage Loss Insurance
The first important thing to remember when answering this question is that workers comp is not about the injury. Yes, that sounds odd, but functionally it’s true. Instead, it’s a form of insurance regulated by each state, based on wages. Workers comp payments are based on what you would have been making if you’d continued working for your employer instead of being injured. This means that the insurance is not actually payment for being injured, it’s payment for not being able to work. Because workers comp works like insurance the provider wants to stop or reduce payments the moment you start making money again.
Working on Light Duty
In many cases, people who are injured on the job and receive workers’ comp are able to return to some semblance of work afterward and most want to. If your doctor clears you for light duty, under the rules of workers comp, you are allowed to get new paying work as long as you report the new income to your paying employer or insurance company. However, once again because the insurance is on the amount you used to make, the insurance company will only pay the difference between your current pay and previous wages.
Returning to Full Pay
A lot of people want to recover quickly then return back to their previous position and companies tend to comply. This can be great for psychological rehabilitation and help you get right back into life after the injury. However, if you successfully go back to work, making the same amount or more will cancel your worker’s comp completely no matter where you choose to work. As far as the insurance system is concerned, you couldn’t work at this level and now you can and its job is done. However, it’s also a difficult choice between continuing to receive benefits throughout recovery or taking a swing at work with the chance that the injury will flare up after the worker’s comp stops.
One of the most challenging things an active person with a good work ethic can do is lay around the house. The constant urge to get up and do something can grow quite consuming, even if you’re also nursing an injury. The most important thing to remember is that you only have one body and your injury matters. Instead of doing yard work or looking for employment too early, you should probably be resting. Don’t go back to work until you’re reasonably sure that the injury is fully healed, or as much as it’s going to be. Workers comp is in place to maintain your lifestyle at your previous rate of pay. This means that even if you did get a new job, you could not gain more money than the worker’s comp allowed for.
For more helpful information about how to make the best use of your worker’s compensation, please contact me today.