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.