Q: Can I qualify for workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits at the same time?
Yes, you may be able to collect both unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time. Your ability to do so depends on the types of benefits you’re entitled to receive.
Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Benefits
If an employee is unable to perform job duties due to a work-related injury, he may receive workers’ compensation benefits from his employer. If he was laid off, or lost his job through no fault of his own, he may qualify for unemployment benefits. Generally, this means that if you can work, you can’t receive workers’ compensation; and if you can’t work, you can’t receive unemployment benefits.
However, there's an exception. According to Section 207.049(2) of the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act, a claimant may be able to draw workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation simultaneously in the event of a partial disability. Partial disability means that employees are currently unable to complete their routine tasks at work, but are still able to perform other, typically lighter-duty tasks.
If you can’t continue to perform your current job due to your workplace injury, you may still be eligible to draw unemployment if you’re able to do other types of work.
In this case, your employer receives a credit for the amount you’ve been paid through one compensation program as an offset against the amount due via the other program. For example, if you applied for workers’ compensation first, the payments you receive reduce your unemployment compensation by the same amount.
Similarly, if you first applied for unemployment compensation, the payments you receive reduce your workers’ compensation payments. Your total compensation remains the same, but it will be paid by two separate programs, rather than just one.
The statutes governing workers’ compensation and unemployment programs are complex, so you need an experienced workers’ comp attorney to protect your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.