Receiving workers’ compensation benefits aids employees in their recovery from work-related injuries or illnesses by helping with medical expenses and replacing their lost wages. However, not following the rules associated with these programs can have severe consequences.
Can Employees Work While on Workers’ Compensation?
Yes, it is permissible for you to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some important steps and communications that must take place. If you’re returning to work but performing a lighter-duty job than before your injury, both your pre-injury employer and their insurance company need to be kept updated about the situation.
If, on the other hand, you find another light-duty position with a different employer altogether during this period of rehabilitation, there’s still an obligation on your part to report any income generated from this new employment. You must share this information with the insurance company of your former employer who is paying out your workers’ compensation benefits.
If your current earnings are less than what you were making before your injury, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, known as partial wage loss benefits. The calculation of these benefits depends on the difference between what you earned prior to getting injured and the current wages.
How Would You Get Caught Working?
If you’re supposed to be receiving workers’ compensation benefits and are working at the same time, there are numerous ways in which this could potentially come to light. If for some reason your employer suspects that you are working, they may initiate their own investigation.
Alternatively, their insurance company or even the state workers’ compensation commission can initiate an inquiry.
Corroboration may take different forms such as hiring a private investigator who would observe your activities, assess if they align with the medical limitations indicated by your claim for worker’s comp benefits, and then report on any discrepancies. These investigations often involve checking social media accounts for posts that contradict reported injuries or capabilities.
Additionally, third-party reports from fellow employees or other people aware of both your injury claim and work situation can end up being relayed back to your employer or their insurance company, initiating an investigation.
What Happens if You’re Caught Working When You Shouldn’t Be?
If you are caught working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, it’s seen as a serious offense under U.S. law and is usually considered fraud – an action that could invite significant legal consequences.
The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigates potential violations tied to fraud within workers’ compensation programs, looking into allegations such as failing to disclose income or employment while collecting benefits, presenting false medical documents, feigning injuries or disability statuses. This department also scrutinizes any possible participation from medical professionals in deceitful acts. Those found guilty can face penalties ranging from fines to prison sentences.
Why You Need An Attorney For Workers’ Compensation Claims
Undеrstanding and properly navigating workers’’ compеnsation law can bе complеx. This is whеrе a skilled Washington D.C. workers’ compensation lawyеr becomes invaluable. An еxpеriеncеd attorney can providе guidance to ensure that you comply with all required rules related to workеrs’ compеnsation, avoiding any unintended violation.
Dеpеnding on your unique situation, you might still bе еntitlеd to carry out another job whilе receiving benefits, something a lawyеr from Lightfoot Law can hеlp you dеtеrminе. If you havе questions or need hеlp, don’t hesitate to contact us to schеdulе a frее consultation.