Workers compensation and unemployment benefits are two forms of assistance that have specific requirements and purposes. But what if you are out on workers’ compensation and unable to work? Will you be able to also be on unemployment while receiving workers compensation benefits?
In short, no. You are still technically employed even if you are not working while on workers’ compensation. There are exceptions, however. States set mandates for both workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits which means some allow you to collect both.
In North Carolina, for example, you may collect unemployment benefits while your workers’ compensation claim is being filed or disputed. If you start receiving workers’ compensation benefits, however, you must repay your unemployment benefits. Another exception is if you are terminated or resign because you can no longer perform the previous job due to the injury.
Difference Between Unemployment Benefits and Workers’ Compensation
These two benefits packages are intended for different purposes. Workers’ compensation pays you for the wages you miss while not working due to an injury from work. Unemployment benefits pay you a certain amount when you’re out of a job and searching for employment. Employers are required in most places, including Illinois, to provide workers’ compensation, while you must apply for unemployment benefits individually. Typically, workers’ compensation is for people who are unable to work while unemployment benefits are for people who are actively looking and able to work.
How Does Unemployment Work?
Unemployment benefits allow you a steady income while you search for a job. You must meet certain eligibility requirements, often set by the state. In general, you must be job hunting at the time you apply for unemployment benefits. You also must be able to prove that you’re searching for a job. Illinois requires documented proof every two weeks for you to remain eligible for unemployment benefits. Eligibility rules vary per state. In most states, you only qualify for unemployment benefits if:
You aren’t at fault for your unemployment
You are actively looking for work
You’ve earned a minimum base amount of earnings in the recent past.
You may not be eligible for unemployment if you were fired for committing theft,
felonies or misconduct at work. You can receive unemployment if you quit for good reason such as health or sexual harassment, but you
aren’t eligible if you didn’t have good cause. Be sure to contact your employer and the agent handling your workers compensation claim
in order to discuss your options when it comes to compensation and unemployment benefits.