Authors: Michael Gregos Esq. & Michael Serres Esq.
What is important to note is WHY you are not working!
Hard working lawyers, for hard working people
One of the more frequent questions asked is, I am out of work due to my accident but not getting paid, can I file for unemployment? That question has only gotten more complicated with the government increasing unemployment benefits and providing stimulus funding. What if I have returned to work but got laid off? Or perhaps, although I am out of work due to my accident, can I cash the stimulus check due to Covid19? Below we will tackle the different scenarios in which it is both safe and not safe to file for unemployment benefits while having an open Workers’ Compensation case.
In order to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, the reason for not working must be due to injuries sustained in your work accident. In other words, you have your job but are not able to work at the current time because of your work injury. Unemployment benefits on the other hand work the opposite way. In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must be ready, willing and able to work, but have no job. Therefore in most cases, you should NOT apply for unemployment benefits if you are out of work due to your work injury.
However, it is sometimes possible to have a Workers’ Comp case and receive unemployment benefits due to being laid off. For example, let’s say you were injured, and did not miss any time from work. If you were then laid off, you would be entitled to unemployment benefits. Similarly, if you were injured, missed some time from work, but then returned to work, you would be entitled to unemployment benefits if you were laid off after your return. What is important to note is WHY you are not working. If it is because of your injury, then Unemployment benefits do not apply. If it is because of any other reason besides your injury, it is safe to collect unemployment benefits.
Stimulus money does not affect Workers’ Compensation in any way. In order for money to affect your Worker’s Compensation case, the money must be earned. The stimulus check is provided by the Government for the purposes of stimulating the economy. It is not meant to replace any Worker’s Compensation benefit. As a result, it is safe to use any stimulus money even if you are out of work and getting paid due to your Worker’s compensation case.
Of course there are exceptions. If your situation doesn’t fit directly into the scenarios listed above, or if you have any questions, give us a call here at Pyrros and Serrres. We are here working to help injured workers throughout the State get the help they need during these difficult times.