Workplace injuries can be serious, affecting not just your ability to live your life as you normally would but also your ability to earn a living within your industry. Sometimes employees recovering from an injury will get the opportunity to start a new job before their workers compensation benefits end, either because they have recovered faster than projected or have found a job that they can do while still recovering from their injury.
While it looks like a great opportunity many workers will ask themselves: Could I start a new job while receiving workers compensation benefits? And how will this affect my medical and wage compensation?
Can you start a new job while receiving workers compensation benefits?
There are many reasons an employee might decide to switch jobs in the middle of their compensation period. They may no longer feel comfortable in their current job, their injury might have led to a breakdown in the relationship with their employer or they might have simply received a better offer somewhere else. Whatever the reason, there is nothing stopping a worker from finding and starting a new job while receiving compensation benefits from their former employer. It is possible, however, that changing jobs could affect the compensation that a worker receives. The two main areas of concern are medical compensation and wage replacement compensation.
How could a new job affect medical benefits?
When you are halfway through rehabilitating a serious workplace injury the last thing that you want is to lose your medical benefits. Medical benefits are a key component of your successful recovery, and are designed to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible after an injury. The good news is that changing jobs, even to a higher paying one, is very unlikely to end your medical benefits. Most of the time, regardless of employment, workers are still entitled to have reasonable medical expenses covered. Therefore, it is important to continue to see a doctor and follow their directions until you are fully recovered.
How could a new job affect weekly compensation benefits?
How a new job affects weekly compensation benefits is far more complex than how it may affect medical benefits. Your weekly payments are based on a calculation of your pre-injury average weekly earnings and your weekly payments are mainly affected by how many hours you are working or capable of earning each week.
This means that if you get a new job, where you work more hours or earn more money than before your injury you could lose your weekly compensation benefits. If you start a new job and you do less hours or earn less than before your injury you may have your weekly benefits reduced compared to when you were not working due to your injury.
Getting a new job while you are receiving compensation benefits can affect you in different ways depending on your situation and it is important to reach out to experts who understand the field and can advise you on exactly how your new employment can affect your compensation benefits.