Looking for a new job is scary, especially if you were receiving workers’ compensation at the time of the injury. A commonly asked question we get is:
“Can I receive unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time?”
What does it mean to file for unemployment?
Filing for unemployment means a worker is “ready, willing and able to work,” but they simply can’t find a job due to circumstances outside their control. It could take weeks or months to find a new job. But in the meantime, bills still need to be paid and food still has to get on the table. So, while they look, folks can file for unemployment to help with their expenses.
In order to receive these benefits, workers must have lost their job through no fault of their own (such as downsizing or a lay-off) and certify that they are ready to join the workforce.
What is workers’ compensation?
The intent behind workers’ comp is to reimburse injured employees who are unable to work or only work in a limited capacity due to a workplace accident, such as a car accident or brain injury from hitting their head. Thus, they are entitled to monetary compensation in order to help pay for their bills and medical expenses.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, generally, a worker must have injured themselves while on the job and have documentation from their doctor stating the employee’s work restrictions while recovering.
Can I get both?
Many states, including Georgia, have laws that prohibit an injured worker from receiving workers’ compensation and TPD (temporary partial disability) or TTD (temporary total disability) benefits simultaneously.
However, it is the unfortunate truth that many workers’ compensation claims take time to process. Some injured workers have to fight long and hard in order to receive these kinds of benefits, and it’s helpful to have an experienced Georgia attorney fighting with you.
If you’ve been receiving unemployment benefits and you win your case for workers’ compensation benefits, then your employer might actually owe you additional money. This is referred to as a “credit,” which the employer must pay to the injured worker to make up for the difference between their unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation.
For example, if an injured worker is receiving $400 a week for unemployment and successfully files for workers’ compensation in the amount of $500, then their employer owes an additional $100 for every week the employee received unemployment benefits.
When should I hire an attorney?
Most injured employees don’t understand their rights within the system, which is why hiring an attorney as soon as the accident has occurred is often the best course of action. At Gerber & Holder, we represent injured Georgia workers and we want you to know you don’t have to fight this alone.