If you’ve been hurt on the job or have suffered an illness due to workplace conditions, you’ll likely have to miss some time from work while you recover. Perhaps you’ve already made a full recovery, or you can work with lighter duties, but you can no longer work in your previous position. Whatever the case, it’s natural to question whether you can receive workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance at the same time. Whether or not you can receive both types of benefits will depend on your medical condition and ability to work.
The experienced southern Illinois personal injury lawyers at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC focus on workers’ compensation, personal injury, and social security disability cases. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.
You Cannot Collect Unemployment for a Total Disability
If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a temporary total disability (TTD) or a permanent total disability (PTD), you’re likely not eligible to receive unemployment insurance as well. TTD and PTD workers’ compensation benefits are intended to replace the majority of your income when you can’t work due to an injury or illness acquired on the job. However, unemployment insurance is meant to replace a portion of your income if you have lost your job but are still able to work and are actively looking for employment.
Unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation have different purposes, so you generally cannot collect unemployment insurance if you suffer from a total disability. Total disability benefits from a work injury are to be provided by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
The Law in Illinois and Missouri
Some states will allow you to collect workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance at the same time. In these states, the amount of workers’ compensation you receive is generally reduced by the amount of unemployment insurance you’re receiving. The intention of this is to ensure you aren’t receiving more in benefits than what you earned while working.
Unfortunately, for workers in Missouri, the news is not much better. The Missouri Revise Statutes specifically address this issue and state that it’s not permitted to receive workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance at the same time. As such, if you’re collecting workers’ compensation in Missouri, you are automatically barred from receiving unemployment insurance, as well.
Receiving Unemployment Insurance After Recovery
During your recovery, you may reach a stage known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point where you’re not going to get any better, but your condition also is not going to get worse. If your doctor determines that your condition will leave you with lasting mental or physical limitations, but you can still perform some employment duties, you may be awarded permanent partial disability or a workers’ compensation settlement. In this case, if you can’t return to your old employment position, but you plan on continuing to look for new employment, you can apply for unemployment benefits.
Even if you make a full recovery and you don’t suffer from a permanent disability, you may not be able to return to your old job. While it’s against the law for your employer to fire you because you file a claim for workers’ compensation, they are also under no obligation to provide you with special treatment while you’re recovering from a temporary disability. If you’ve been fired after reaching MMI, in some cases you can apply for unemployment insurance.
You Can Receive Unemployment if Workers’ Compensation is Disputed
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to deny workers’ compensation claims, and your employer may dispute your claim too, so their insurance premiums don’t increase. When that’s the case, you can apply for unemployment insurance while your workers’ compensation claim is under dispute. Still, even in this situation, it’s important to understand that the state may recover unemployment payments paid out once you resolve your workers’ comp case.
If your workers’ comp claim is denied, it’s imperative that you work with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois or Missouri. An attorney will know how to appeal the decision and will hold both the workers’ compensation insurance company and your employer accountable for paying the benefits you deserve.
Call Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
If you’ve been denied workers’ compensation for your workplace illness or injury, or you need help applying, our workers’ compensation lawyers can provide the sound legal advice you need. At the Law Office of Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, we know applying for workers’ compensation isn’t always easy, but we also know how to overcome the challenges these claims present. Contact us today at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys.