As we’ve discussed in the FAQ section, it is possible to receive Pennsylvania workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation at the same time. However, even if a worker is eligible for these two benefits, it does not necessarily mean they should pursue both of them. This is all dependent on the injured workers’ circumstances.
First, it’s good to have an understanding of what would qualify someone to collect both workers’ compensation and unemployment in Pennsylvania. Those that claim total disability (an inability to perform ANY work) are NOT eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if the worker has the ability to do SOME work (for example, light duty jobs such as working shorter hours or working at a desk) AND the current employer is unable to administer such work; the employee is eligible for both Pennsylvania workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits. However, the unemployment amount the worker receives is counted against their Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits. Thus, the workers' compensation benefit payment will be reduced by the amount of unemployment the worker is receiving. Therefore, the amount an injured worker receives while collecting both benefits is about the same as collecting solely the workers’ compensation benefits.
Because of this, it is advised that, in most cases, the injured worker saves their unemployment benefits in case their workers’ compensation claim is suspended or terminated, or he or she is laid off after recuperating and returning to work. Unemployment, despite being currently prolonged because of the rough economic climate, does run out. It’s not a good idea to waste it.
However, in cases where a workers’ compensation case is being fought and the worker is having difficulty making ends meet, it is advised that the injured worker seek unemployment benefits while the court case is going on. It is unfair for the injured worker to miss out on the regular wages while their employer is unjustly fighting their workers’ compensation case. If the injured worker wins the case and is awarded workers’ compensation, he or she will receive workers’ compensation benefits minus the amount already received from unemployment compensation. If you have been denied workers’ compensation, contact a competent Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney right away. Don’t miss out on the benefits you are entitled to.
Work-related injuries are usually pretty straight-forward. However, there are instances where an injured person may have difficulty determining whether or not Pennsylvania law entitles them to workers’ compensation. Here is some information that can help you determine whether your injury is work related and if you should contact a Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorney.
Company Parties/Sporting Events
In most cases, injuries that occur at company celebrations such as picnics, holiday parties, and softball games are covered by workers’ compensation. This is especially true if attendance is required or if the employees choosing to opt out have to forfeit pay or vacation time to not attend. In SOME cases, this can even include injuries that are the result of alcohol-related behaviors.
An injury that occurs when an employee is required to travel outside of their normal work route (for example, a conference or business trip) is most likely covered by workers’ compensation. However, injuries that occur during a regular commute to or from work will usually not be covered unless the person is using a company vehicle.
Safety and Rule Violations
Cases involving employee rule violations can be tricky. Often the outcome depends on the severity of the behavior. For example, instances that involve horseplay may result in workers’ compensation if the supervisor is aware of the behavior and especially if he or she allows it to go on. However, claims resulting from safety violations can be denied if the injured worker has a history of violating safety rules and has been disciplined in the past for their actions. Furthermore, most cases involving intentional self-inflicted injuries are not covered under workers’ compensation.
Generally, injuries that occur while an employee is on his or her lunch break do not fall under workers’ compensation. There are, however, exceptions. For instance, if an employee is hurt while picking up lunch for their supervisor, they might receive workers’ compensation depending on a number of circumstances. Also, if the injury occurs on company property (for example, the break room) the employee may be covered depending on how and why the injury took place.
If your employer has denied a workers’ compensation claim you feel you are entitled to, contact a Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.