Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania

If you are out of work because of an injury, you may have multiple options to consider for seeking replacement wages. Many workers who lose their job seek unemployment benefits to get continuing paychecks while they look for another job, but if you are unable to work because of an injury, Workers’ Compensation may be a better option for you.

If you suffered a workplace injury or have a work-related condition that keeps you from going back to work, talk to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer today. The Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates may be able to help. For a free consultation, call our law offices today at (215) 355-6400.

Can You Get Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation at the Same Time in PA?

Workers’ Compensation is designed to pay injured workers’ medical bills and lost wages while they cannot return to work. To achieve this goal, Workers’ Compensation takes care to ensure that the workers are in fact injured and cannot work. Once your treating physician gives you permission to return to work, it is expected that you will go back to your job and resume work. This program helps you to return to your job, covering your needs and expenses in the meantime.

In contrast, Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation provided by the Department of Labor and Industry is designed to help people transition to a new job. This program pays workers who have sufficient work history while they search for a new job after losing their job. When receiving unemployment, you must actively seek a new job and be willing to accept a new job offer. This means that most people who need Workers’ Compensation will not be eligible for unemployment.

To be eligible for Workers’ Compensation, you must be unable to work – but to be eligible for unemployment, you must be willing and able to work. This means that it is practically impossible to be eligible for unemployment and Workers’ Compensation at the same time. Not only that, but trying to claim both could hurt your chances of getting benefits from either program. Applying for unemployment and Workers’ Compensation each requires making sworn statements about your ability to work. Your unemployment application would be solid evidence that you are in fact able to work, which would undermine your Workers’ Compensation application, and vice versa. In fact, if these statements contradict each other, one must be false, and you could actually face legal issues for fraud, perjury, or other false statements.

Is Workers’ Compensation Better than Unemployment Compensation?

When your injury or work-related condition keeps you from work, Workers’ Compensation is likely your best choice for receiving compensation. In most cases, you will not be able to claim unemployment benefits after a workplace injury because you have not lost your job and you are not able to work. Even if you could work, unemployment only pays up to 50% of your typical wages for 26 weeks.

Workers’ Compensation not only pays a higher wage, but it may cover you for a longer time, and it covers medical expenses. Workers’ Compensation typically pays up to 66 2/3% of your typical weekly wages after a work injury. These payments continue for a maximum of 500 weeks for permanent disability. If your injury does not permanently keep you from work, you can receive benefits proportional to your injury. For instance, the loss of a hand can get 365 weeks of benefits, the loss of an arm can get 410 weeks, and the loss of an eye can get 275 weeks of benefits. These benefits are much higher than what unemployment could provide.

In addition, all medical expenses necessary for your recovery should be covered by Workers’ Compensation. As long as you continue to keep up with your treatment plan, seek treatment from an approved physician, and still suffer from your injury or condition, Workers’ Compensation should continue to cover your medical costs.

There may be additional programs you could use to get coverage if you suffered a workplace injury. In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer or a coworker for serious negligence or intentional injuries. Whether you were injured at work or outside of work, you may also be eligible for federal disability payments through Social Security. However, in many cases, you are required to go through Workers’ Compensation first, and other benefits are often reduced, using Workers’ Compensation as your primary benefit program. Talk to an attorney today to see if you need to file a claim through Workers’ Compensation and how Workers’ Compensation benefits can help you during your recovery.

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Offer Counsel on Workplace Injury Options

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates are available for free consultations on Workers’ Compensation cases in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Our lawyers can help you understand what Workers’ Compensation benefits you may be entitled to, and how to secure your benefits. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (215) 355-6400.