Working while collecting workers’ compensation benefits can be considered fraud and may land you in legal trouble. Even if you have a second job, you cannot continue to work while injured. However, your employer may be required to pay your lost wages from both jobs.
At Jainchill & Beckert, LLC, we want to help you understand the complicated rules governing Connecticut workers’ compensation insurance. Even inadvertently violating these rules can lead to significant financial and legal consequences at a time when you should be focusing on your recovery and taking care of yourself.
Why Is It Illegal to Work While on Workers’ Compensation?
The Connecticut workers’ compensation program is an insurance system that provides benefits, like wage replacement and medical expenses, for employees injured on the job. Sometimes, a workplace injury prevents an employee from going to work. That makes them eligible for wage replacement benefits through the workers’ compensation program.
However, working a job while collecting workers’ compensation benefits from another job could be considered fraud. The workers’ comp insurer could reasonably expect that if you’re disabled from working one job, you’re disabled from performing the tasks of any other job. If they find that you’re working a second job, you could be investigated to determine whether you’re truly disabled from the job that entitles you to wage replacement benefits.
In Connecticut, people who accept benefits while working an additional job can face Class B felony charges if the fraud exceeds $2,000. Class B felonies are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison. Connecticut has a dedicated Workers’ Compensation Fraud Control Unit investigating potential workers’ compensation fraud cases.
What If I Was Already Working a Second Job When I Was Injured?
If you had a second job when you were injured, your claim application should include information about the income you earn from all your jobs – not just your wages from the job where you were injured.
The average weekly wage from each of your jobs could be combined. Wage replacement benefits might be paid based on the wages you were earning from both of your jobs before you were disabled, depending on the circumstances of your case. But keeping silent about having a second job and continuing to work at that job while collecting disability benefits for the other job could be considered fraud.
Would My Workers’ Comp Be Affected If I Can Still Work at My Second Job?
Your compensation can be affected if you can still work at your second job. The ability to work a second job may indicate you do not need workers’ compensation benefits because you can continue working your first job. Your workers’ compensation claim could be denied if you’re still working a second job. Even if the physical requirements of both jobs are substantially different, the workers’ comp insurer may claim that your ability to perform your second job proves that you could still do your first job.
If you continue working the second job, your benefits could be reduced or cut. However, the worst-case scenario is that you could face arrest and legal consequences like fines and prison time for collecting money while continuing to work.
What If I Take a Lesser Job with My Employer Due to My Injuries?
After a workplace injury, your employer may want you to consider taking a lesser role. Proceed cautiously and consult a Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney before accepting a new role. The lesser role may not pay as well as your previous position. Sometimes workers’ compensation benefits cover wage loss differential and allow individuals to recoup any wage difference. However, it is always in your best interest to talk to an attorney about the potential pros and cons of accepting a lesser role with your employer.
What Is the Waiting Period for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Connecticut?
Workers’ compensation benefits do not kick in immediately after a workplace injury. Connecticut workers’ compensation benefits begin on the fourth day following incapacity from work. If the employee cannot work for seven or more calendar days, the waiting period is eliminated so that benefits are paid from the beginning of their incapacity.
How Much Does Workers’ Comp Typically Pay?
The value of your workers’ compensation benefits depends on several factors, including which benefits you may qualify for after a workplace injury. Temporary total disability benefits are the wage replacement benefits you get if you’re completely disabled from working while you heal. These benefits typically pay 75 percent of your average weekly wage after tax and Social Security. Workers’ compensation also pays for your medical treatment. However, the overall value of your benefits package can vary if you qualify for other workers’ compensation benefits such as:
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Relapse or recurrence
- Job retaining
- Discretionary benefits
For more information about the benefits you’re entitled to, discuss your unique situation with an experienced Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can review your claim, manage communication between you and the insurer, and negotiate for all the benefits you deserve for your workplace injuries. An attorney can also help guide you through the claim process, helping you reduce the risk of a claim denial.
Contact a Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Handling a Connecticut workers’ compensation claim can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially when you are in pain. Working with a knowledgeable Connecticut workers’ compensation lawyer can make filing a claim and seeking the money you need to focus on your recovery much easier. At Jainchill & Beckert, LLC, our dedicated team of attorneys fights to protect your rights and help you pursue the money you deserve.
Do you have more questions about Connecticut workers’ compensation benefits? Are you concerned about your second job? Contact our office today to arrange a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We are ready to help you through the Connecticut workers’ compensation claim process.