Can You Collect Unemployment Insurance and a Worker’s Compensation Settlement?
Dan Levenson October 22, 2019
When you’ve been injured on the job, and it affects your ability to work, it’s normal to start strategizing ways to pay your bills. Of course, you logged your injury and began the process of applying for worker’s compensation right away. That’s the practical thing to do, especially if your employer is looking forward to your return after recovery. However, during this time, you may not be able to work your normal hours.
You may have also heard or been assured that worker’s compensation approvals take time, and in that time, you still need to pay your bills. So it’s only natural to start thinking in terms of unemployment. After all, you are technically out of work, and that unemployment is a portion of your wages specifically set aside to help when you aren’t clocking hours.
Today we’re here to answer the all-important questions: Can you pair these two income sources to cover your expenses or do you have to choose?
Can I Apply for Both Unemployment and Worker’s Compensation?
Officially, the answer to this question is yes, but you shouldn’t. You can apply for both. However, if you want to make a strong case for your worker’s compensation approval, it’s best to forego unemployment. Applying for unemployment suggests that you are currently looking for another job and/or do not consider yourself to still be working for the employer whose worker’s comp insurance you are making a claim for.
So while you can apply for both, it’s recommended that you do not. Rest assured, if you’re worried that your worker’s comp will be permanently rejected, that unemployment will still be available if that unfortunate worry comes to pass.
Can I Collect Unemployment and a Worker’s Compensation Settlement At the Same Time?
For this one, your official answer is no. Once you begin receiving your worker’s compensation settlement, you are officially still working for your employer and being paid for the time that you can’t work or that your reduced wages for a light-work position. Applying for unemployment could jeopardize your settlement, and you are more likely to get rejected while receiving worker’s compensation.
Understanding Unemployment vs. Worker’s Compensation
Now that we’ve covered the short answers, let’s go into the why and how. There are three important differences between unemployment payments and a worker’s compensation settlement. The first is how much they pay-out. The second is how quickly they are approved and begin paying. And the third is the premise under which they are collected.
Unemployment Amount and Speed
Unemployment undeniably pays less and is available faster. In Minnesota, your unemployment benefits will equal to roughly 50% of your weekly pay each week, for up to 28 weeks. With a maximum of $640 per week, no matter how much you used to make. But unemployment is usually approved within the month of the application so it can be tempting when finances get thin.
Worker’s Compensation Amount and Speed
Worker’s Compensation, on the other hand, can take months of negotiation and waiting for settlements to come in, but the pay can be as much as three-fourths your previous year’s salary without a hard limit on the duration that the payments are meant to cover. Your worker’s comp settlement amount can be significantly greater than the total amount you could receive from unemployment, though it takes longer for the funds to become available.
Premise Behind the Payments
However, the premises are inherently conflicting. Unemployment is specifically designated to those who are out of work. Worker’s compensation, on the other hand, is provided under the premise that you are still working for your employer and that they are paying you for hours that you are unable to work due to a workplace injury.
Improving Your Worker’s Comp Approval Speed
- Log your injury immediately with your employer
- Visit your own doctor and get their objective assessment
- Keep records, photos, and scans of all injury and treatment evidence
- Work with a worker’s compensation attorney to file and pursue your claim
- Remain on cordial with your employer and plan to return to work
If you are considering filing a worker’s compensation claim and aren’t sure what the next best step is, it’s best to run things by an experienced professional. If you are a business planning to buy a worker’s compensation policy that will cover all the bases and be easy for your employees to navigate when it is needed, contact us today.