Have you suffered from a work-related injury and considering a career change or looking for a new job? Well, you are not alone as many employees in similar situations have the same thoughts at one point or another.
Sometimes, an accident or an injury can trigger a need within you to look for a new job in a lower-risk industry. Furthermore, you may consider a career change, especially your injury prevents you from performing your job tasks as before.
With such as injury, you will most likely be receiving workers’ compensation benefits, and the logical question for you to ask is, “can I start a new job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.” This post will help you understand the how, ifs, and buts related to working while receiving benefits.
Reasons to Change Jobs after Injury
There can be myriads of reasons why you may want to change jobs after injury while receiving workers’ compensation benefits from your employees. However, the two most likely scenarios include:
You found a new job that is less demanding but pays the same amount and meets your doctor’s recommended limit of physical exertion your body can bear.
You found a new job that may pay less, but it enables you to move forward while meeting your doctor’s recommended limit of physical exertion your body can bear.
In the case of either scenario mentioned above, your eligibility to receive partial workers’ compensation benefits will stay intact.
What Happens to Your Benefits When Changing Jobs?
The good news is that you have the legal right to change your jobs whenever you like, even when receiving workers’ compensation benefits from your current employer. However, certain laws are applicable, and your decision to switch to a new full-time job or take on secondary work may impact the amount of your benefits.
Therefore, if you are considering changing job or taking on additional employment, you must understand the following:
Your benefits do not cancel just because you changed jobs
Your benefits do not cancel in case you accept a light-duty position with a reduced salary
Your benefits do not cancel just because you take on a different job with a lower pay-grade
That said, when you do switch jobs while receiving benefits, it is imperative for you to understand that this decision may impact the amount of the benefits you continue to receive in the future. So, you will still receive your workers’ compensation benefits, but the weekly pay rate you receive will not be similar to when you first started receiving the benefits.
Additionally, if your new employer or job pays you the same salary that you received in your previous employment, your benefits will cease.
Taking on a Secondary Part-time Job
It is common for an injured employee to consider taking on an additional part-time job to meet their financial gap. This gap results from the difference between their previous salary and workers’ compensation benefits.
However, as you start earning additional income, the amount of your workers’ compensation benefits will start reducing. It is very important for you to remember that if you start an additional job, get a salary, and do not report this stream of income while continuing to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will be committing insurance fraud.
Things You Must Consider Before Switching to a New Job
There can be various reasons, both personal and financial, that may encourage or push to look for another job. However, you need to remember that this action comes with certain possible risks and downsides as well. Two of the most prominent ones are as follows:
If you decide to go back to work before you have fully recovered, this will put you at risk of reinjuring yourself.
If you decide to return to work too early, this may hurt your recovery and prevent you from a full recovery.
Another important aspect you must remember is that your current employer is not under any legal obligation to hold your job position for you. So, there is a chance that by the time you fully recover from the injury, your job may no longer be available. Additionally, your current employer is also under no legal obligation to offer you an alternative position or job role.
Do You Have a Clearance For Light-Duty Work?
If your doctor declares that you are fit to go back to work and believes that this will not risk your recovery progress by doing so, this is a good opportunity for you to move forward. Continuing you receive a partial wage for an extended period of time can put you in a serious financial crisis.
In your defense, if you do not feel fit to go back to work for physical or psychological reasons, it is best to speak to your doctor. You have to remember that any negligence or hurry to go back to work can put your health at risk, or it may aggravate your injury.
West Coast Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you sustained a work-related injury and eagerly wish to start a new job, it is best for you to settle your workers’ compensation case prior to starting new work. If you are receiving Permanent Partial Disability or Temporary Partial Disability, you can seek new employment and continue receiving your workers’ compensation benefits.
We at West Coast Workers’ Compensation Attorney (WCWCA) can assist you with any type of workers’ compensation case. Contact our law office if you are looking for an attorney with expertise in workers’ compensation benefits.