What do you do when you’ve been hurt at work and your workers’ compensation claim ends up denied the first time around? Should you file for unemployment while you try to get your workers’ comp approved?
Filing for unemployment while your workers’ compensation claim is working its way through an appeal is a bad idea for several reasons. It could destroy the credibility of your claim and put you in a position where you’re violating the law.
In order to file for workers’ compensation due to an injury that puts you off the job, you have to state that you’re unable to work. More than likely, you’re also asserting the claim that you can’t even return to light duty.
Unfortunately, if your claim is denied, you can’t easily turn around and claim unemployment benfits. In order to collect those benefits, you have to tell the state that you’re able to work but just currently out of a job. You also have to show that you’re actively looking for work on a regular basis in order to keep the unemployment benefits coming.
The conflict is clear. You can’t tell one group that you’re unable to work and assert to another that you’re looking for work without being accused of lying to one of them even if you’re trying to find a job that you can handle with your current limitations.
You can absolutely bet that the insurance company handling your workers’ comp claim is going to ask whether or not you’re claiming unemployment benefits. If you say that you are, you can expect the insurance company to make inquiries into exactly what kind of work you might do when you can’t even do light-duty work at your normal place of employment.
It’s always wise to explore all your legal options carefully when you’re appealing a workers’ compensation denial so that you don’t end up putting your long-term goals at risk.