When it comes to employment benefits, worker’s compensation and unemployment are the big two. For most workers, they find themselves in a situation in which they would either collect one or the other. However, for a very small subset of workers, they find themselves in the unfortunate situation in which they might be able to collect both.
Obviously, workers’ compensation benefits are reserved for those who were hurt on the job while unemployment benefits are for those who are out of a job. If your situation makes it so you fall into both of these categories at the same time, you may still be able to collect benefits, but there are some special considerations.
Collecting Worker’s Compensation While on Unemployment
If you were hurt at work, you cannot be fired because you pursued worker’s compensation. However, you can still be laid off which would qualify you for both types of benefits. If you were hurt at work and then found out you were laid off soon after, will that affect your benefits?
In Minnesota, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a worker’s compensation claim. So you have some time on your side to make the claim if you are also dealing with being laid off. This means you should technically consider pursuing unemployment first since that will often be of a more immediate concern. If you then decide to pursue worker’s compensation to cover your medical bills, be aware that this will have an effect on your unemployment, but neither will negate the other benefit program completely.
Applying for Unemployment After Worker’s Compensation
If you are already on worker’s compensation benefits and are going to be applying for unemployment, you will still be able to collect from both. As long as you are physically and mentally capable of working again, you can collect unemployment benefits. This is where applying for unemployment while on worker’s compensation can be tricky. If you are unable to work, you are ineligible for unemployment. Alternatively, if you are still collecting worker’s compensation benefits, but can still work, even if it is with restrictions, then you still may be eligible for both benefit programs.
However, if you qualify, you should note that your weekly unemployment rate may be reduced if the combined compensation of your unemployment and your worker’s compensation go over the average weekly wage of your previous job.
How to Ensure Success When Applying for Both
Fighting for compensation from one of these programs is difficult, but trying to get both is almost needlessly complicated. As the benefit programs of worker’s compensation and unemployment in Minnesota sometimes contradict each other, by trying to receive both, you are headed into rough waters. This is why it is more crucial than ever to have someone advising you throughout the process. A good worker’s compensation lawyer will not only just be well-versed in the worker’s compensation process, but will be knowledgeable in all employment law. This means they will know how applying for one benefit may affect the other benefits you are on.
If you are on unemployment and are going to file for worker’s compensation, you need a skilled lawyer at your side. Fortunately, the worst case scenario if you have already started the process yourself and made mistakes is that you may need to pay back some of the benefits if you did not handle one process correctly. This may hurt financially, but will typically not have any punitive charges for a simple mistake.
Were you hurt in the St. Paul area? If you are getting ready to file for worker’s compensation, especially if you are already collecting unemployment, contact us today. Let the Law Office of Joshua Borken help advise you every step of the way to make sure you get the benefits that you deserve.