Unemployment While on Worker’s Comp

The current situation with the Coronavirus sweeping through Indiana and the United States is going to have both long and short term impacts on our health and our economic situations. The longer that businesses in Indiana are ordered to either stay closed or at least curtail their operations, the more likely Indiana workers are to lose their jobs, either temporarily or permanently.  A hidden pitfall for injured workers already receiving or who may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits (called temporary total disability, or “TTD” for short) may arise if the employer has to close its doors and lay off workers.  Should you apply for unemployment while receiving TTD?  What about if you’re not receiving it, but think you’re entitled to?

You may have read that the Federal government’s stimulus bill enhances the cash benefits that a person deemed eligible for unemployment may receive.  This is a good thing. However, if you are an injured worker in the state of Indiana, you need to be cautious before you apply – you may lose out on more lucrative worker’s comp benefits called temporary total disability (TTD) if you apply for unemployment in Indiana. If you are currently an injured Indiana worker receiving any kind of benefit from the worker’s compensation insurance company, you may be making a terrible mistake if you apply for unemployment without consulting with a skilled Indiana worker’s compensation attorney first.

This is because Indiana law basically says that if you apply for unemployment, you are claiming that you are able to work. Of course, if you are claiming you are able to work, the worker’s compensation insurance company will not want to pay worker’s comp benefits. This is the case even if you’re on restrictions that might allow you to do some work, but not the work you are used to doing. The Indiana Appeals Courts have agreed, saying you can get one or the other between unemployment and worker’s compensation, but not both. I question the wisdom of this thinking for employees who are under restrictions, but it is a reality we must all face.

If you have a current worker’s compensation claim for a work injury in Indiana, and you’re thinking about applying for unemployment too, call Indiana Worker’s Compensation Attorney Charles Hewins of the Hewins Law Firm first, to discuss your rights. The initial consultation is always free!  Our phone number is 812-424-0650.  Call today.