After a period of receiving workers’ comp benefits, many employees reach out to their workers comp attorney in Greenville with a question: can I take another job and still receive benefits? This is a complex situation which must be analyzed carefully. On one hand, it is understandable that you are trying to make the most of an unfortunate situation. Your doctor may have told you that you won’t make a full recovery. This means that you may not return to your previous job.
In most situations, your employer will try to call you back on a light-duty position. The fact is, no employer likes to see workers staying at home on benefits for too long. But some employees are not keen to do that. Some of them talk to their Greenville workers’ comp attorney to challenge their employer’s request to return to work too soon. Others are proactive and apply for jobs elsewhere.
When one of their applications is successful, they realize that they are in a conundrum: do they give up the workers’ comp benefits to get another job? Do they take the new job and still qualify for workers’ comp? Or do they give up this opportunity and wait to see if they will be able to return to work in a different position but on the same wages?
What Will Your South Carolina Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover?
First of all, let us clarify what type of protection workers’ comp offer to South Carolina employees. The benefits will compensate you for:
- 100% of medical costs for treatments needed due to the work related injury
- 2/3 of the average pre-injury weekly wage
- 2/3 of the difference between the pre- and post-injury weekly wages if the injury causes you to work on a less paid position.
Thus, you will get some compensation through workers’ comp if you return to work for your current employer on a light-duty position. But what if you are getting a better offer? Here is what you need to know:
Your Former Employer May Argue that You Should Stop Collecting Workers’ Comp
An employer may argue that they should not keep paying benefits to you now that you work for another company. In certain situations, they may have a point. This is the case when the new job offers you the same or larger weekly wages than what you used to make.
In this case, you will have to give up the workers’ comp benefits and rely on the wages you will make at the new job
You May Want to Settle Your Workers’ Comp Claim
A workers’ compensation attorney in Greenville may help you settle your claim with the current employer before you accept the new position. This type of settlement can have two forms:
- A lump sum paid to you as full and final compensation
- An agreement to receive ongoing compensations for future medical needs.
This is one of the simplest ways to resolve the situation, if you believe that the new job is worth accepting. In this way, your former employer cannot pursue your for the reimbursement of workers’ comp benefits representing wage replacement while you were earning money at a new job.
You May Continue to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits after Taking a New Job
Here is what many employees need to know: your employer is not doing you a favor by paying benefits to you. Also, these benefits are not related to your place of work, but to your medical condition.
Thus, if you take a new job that pays less than your current position, you will continue to receive compensation for 2/3 of the wage difference plus 100% medical costs. There is nothing that your former employer can legally do to stop your benefits. If they do so abusively, your Greenville workers’ comp lawyer will help you get these benefits reinstated.
Situations When It Makes Sense to Look for a New Job
Since you can get into so many complex legal situations, does it make sense to look for a new job while on workers’ comp benefits? This is an answer that only you can give, but a few explanations will help you make an informed choice.
Here are some situations you may be faced with:
Your Employer Cannot Provide a Satisfactory Light Duty Position
In some cases, workers receive desk duty or other positions that will not require them to exert their injured body part. However, as explained above, employers are keen to get you back at work as soon as possible.
In some instances, they may assign to you a position where you feel that you cannot perform well and does not suit your training or work experience. As any workers compensation attorney in Greenville can tell you, refusing to accept this light-duty position gives your employer the right to fire you. Thus, you must start performing these duties, while your attorney prepares an appeal to the decision. During this period, you may start looking for a new job.
You Find a Less Paying Job that Accommodates Your Limitations
Some employees are left with permanent disabilities in such a degree that they need to reconsider their line of work completely. They know that they cannot be on workers’ comp benefits forever.
In South Carolina, you may receive benefits for up to 500 weeks. Lifetime payments are granted only for permanent and total disability cases which involve a degree of paralysis or permanent brain injury.
Therefore, permanent reduced mobility, for instance, does not qualify you for lifetime benefits. In this case, you may seek a lower paying job. At the same time, your workers’ compensation attorney may file to get you temporary disability benefits, since your ongoing medical condition causes you to lose wages.
Discuss Your Workers’ Comp Benefits Options with an Experienced Lawyer!
Any decision you make concerning changing your job while you are out on workers’ comp benefits may affect your eligibility to keep collecting this type of compensation. Worse, you may be required to repay your employer a part of the wage replacement amount.
Before you accept a new job, you should discuss with your Greenville workers compensation lawyer. If another firm handled your case, but you were not happy with their guidance, we will offer you a free case review to analyze your situation. If you think that your employer has abusively stopped your benefits, we will represent you in an appeal and make sure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to. Call us now to make an appointment with a Greenville workers’ comp attorney: 919-328-2336!