“Can I collect Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time I am pursuing a claim for Workers Compensation benefits?”
Published on April 30th, 2010 by Alan L Sklover
Question: I was forced to leave my job, but fortunately, after I applied for Unemployment benefits, I did win unemployment benefits. The Unemployment agency agreed I was due benefits, since it was found that there was no good reason to let me go.
While I was still working, I was injured on the job, and so I filed a Workers Compensation claim. I have won that, too.
The lawyer I had in my Workers Compensation law suit told me I should settle the Workers Comp claim for quite a bit of money.
My question is this: If I settled the Workers Compensation claim, would I lose the Unemployment benefits I have already been paid, or possibly the Unemployment benefits I might collect in the future?
Answer: Mae, your question is not an easy one to answer, mostly because I don’t have all of the facts I would need to fully understand your dilemma. (Bear in mind, too, that I am not admitted as an attorney to the Courts of Ohio, so you can’t consider this to be legal advice.)
That being said, here are a few things you should know:
A. Your attorney in the Workers Compensation claim should know the answer to your question. I truly do think you should ask him his view on the issue.
B. Workers Compensation is a program intended to reimburse an injured employee for two things: (1) lost wages, because the employee is unable to work due to the injury, and (2) medical expenses incurred in treating the injury.
C. Unemployment benefits are paid to an employee who is able to work, but unable to find a job.
Compare the two: do you see the problem? If you are seeking Workers Compensation benefits for being unable to work, how can you collect Unemployment benefits for being able to work at the very same time? Thus, if your Workers Compensation claim is seeking “lost wages” benefits, and if you are paid those “lost wages,” it seems to me you may lose your continuing Unemployment benefits. If the Workers Compensation claim is only for medical expenses incurred, I see no problem.
Again, I would speak to your Workers Compensation attorney on this as soon as possible. I’m confident he or she would be able to answer your question, and I think his or her analysis will be the same as my own, above.
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My Best to You,
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