Question

Can I work while receiving workers’ comp benefits in Pennsylvania?

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Samuel H. Pond - Workers' Compensation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Samuel H. Pond

Located in Philadelphia, PAPond Lehocky Stern Giordano

Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 215-568-7500
Fax: 215-568-7550

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Answer

Whether you can work while remaining eligible for workers’ compensation benefits depends on your injury. If you were seriously injured, and cannot work at all at your regular job, then no, you may not get another job and keep your benefits. However, you may be allowed to work if your doctor says you are physically capable of light work. In this case, you must report that income, and it will affect the amount of workers’ comp benefits you can receive. If you aren’t careful about how you behave, including at other jobs besides the one you were injured at, when you’re receiving workers’ comp benefits, you may be investigated for fraud. 

Avoiding Workers’ Compensation Fraud 

In most cases, you are also unable to receive unemployment benefits while receiving workers’ compensation. It is very important to abide by the terms of your workers’ comp agreement exactly, including reporting any additional income you bring in whether through work or other benefits programs. If you don’t, you might be investigated for workers’ compensation fraud, which means when you are untruthful or conceal information to receive benefits. Penalties can include fines and jail time for extreme cases.

A Second Job Adds A Layer Of Complexity 

Many individuals hold several jobs. If you were injured at one job, you may wonder if you’re able to work your other jobs. Essentially, the answer is still no. However, if you already had a second job at the time of your injury, you may be able to get a portion of those wages covered by workers’ compensation benefits, even if the injury didn’t happen at that workplace. This can help you make sure you have enough money to make ends meet and you don’t have to worry about working your second job anyway. 

How To Make Sure You Get It Right 

Making errors while applying for workers’ compensation, or mistakenly committing fraud while receiving your benefits, can have a lasting impact on your ability to receive the benefits you need. Furthermore, because you can’t have any additional income from work or alternative benefits programs, you need to make sure you get the correct amount of workers’ comp in the first place so that you can make ends meet while you are unable to work. You can apply for a modification to your benefits, but it is difficult and often unsuccessful. A lawyer can look at your situation in the first place and make sure you get the right amount of workers’ comp and don’t do anything to endanger it.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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