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Can I Apply for a New Job While on Workers' Comp?

H. Rosen Law, P.C. Aug. 15, 2023

Worker Compensation Form open in desktop screenIn the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an employee who sustains a work-related injury, illness, or occupational disease may be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. The benefits will help cover the injured employee's medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits. However, various issues often arise when an injured employee – who is currently receiving workers’ comp benefits – wants to continue working or seeking new employment. 

At H. Rosen Law, P.C., our team enjoys fighting and providing clear legal direction to clients in complex workers' compensation matters when applying for a new job. Our skilled Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney are here to help your unique situation and determine whether you can seek new employment. Also, we will direct you through the legal process of applying for a new job without affecting your current workers' comp benefits. 

Our firm proudly serves clients across Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton and Harrisburg. 

Can You Get a New Job While on Workers' Compensation?

Yes. In Pennsylvania, employees who are receiving workers' comp benefits are allowed to resign or change jobs. Essentially, the workers' compensation benefits are based on the workplace injury or occupational disease you sustained in the previous job. 

In fact, certain benefits in your worker's compensation claim will carry over to your next employment until you attain the maximum medical improvement (MMI) or full recovery. However, in some cases, starting a new job will reduce your benefits. Likewise, resigning from your job may affect the kinds of benefits you're eligible to receive in your final claim's settlement. 

Moreover, your current injuries may result in reduced productivity. Hence, as an alternative to getting a new employment, you can explore the possibility of light-duty work with your current employer – based on your doctor’s recommendations. 

Light-Duty Work from Current Employer 

Furthermore, the workers' comp laws allow employers to offer injured employees – who are returning to work with restrictions – light-duty work. Light-duty work involves placing the employee in a job that is less demanding, both physically and mentally. Also, the employer can modify the recovering employee's job to fit the restriction advised by their0 physician. Some common examples of light-duty work include: 

  • working at a desk 

  • performing administrative tasks 

  • supervising job sites 

  • taking inventory 

Generally, this light-duty work is less physically demanding compared to lifting heavy loads or operating machinery. Hence, the employee may still be able to handle the task. However, if you choose to quit your job and apply for a new one, ensure that you discuss with your attorney to understand the possible risks and effects on your workers' compensation benefits. 

Possible Risks of Working While Receiving Workers' Compensation Benefits

Here are some possible risks you may encounter if you're working another job while collecting workers' compensation benefits from your previous employer: 

  • the new job may cause further injuries, which may invalidate potential workers' comp benefits. 

  • your previous employer may investigate your health condition with the intent to terminate or reduce your benefits. 

  • your insurance provider may modify your workers' compensation benefits depending on the amount you earn at your new job. 

  • you may be unable to take up some employment when collecting workers' compensation benefits. If not, you may be investigated for workers' comp fraud. 

A trusted lawyer can enlighten you about the steps to take if you choose to find a new job while collecting workers' comp benefits. 

What to Do If You Choose to Work at a New Job

However, if you decide to work at a new job while receiving workers' compensation benefits, you should take the following steps, where possible: 

  • check with your doctor to be sure you can take the new appointment due to your health condition. 

  • notify your workers' compensation insurer that you're taking a new job. 

  • provide the required documents and legal paperwork. 

  • lastly, remain transparent and do not try to hide the new job from your previous employee or insurance provider. 

Also, ensure that you take the necessary steps to avoid potential penalties or losing your workers' compensation benefits. 

Penalties for Not Going Through the Proper Procedures

Furthermore, your workers' compensation benefits cannot be canceled because you accepted light-duty work, changed jobs, or took up a lesser-paying job. However, you may be subject to the following penalties for not going through the proper procedures: 

  • Your workers' compensation benefits may be terminated. 

  • You may be investigated for alleged workers' compensation insurance fraud. 

  • You may face harsh financial penalties.  

  • You may face serious criminal charges for misdemeanors or felonies. 

A reliable workers' compensation attorney can help protect your benefits, guide you through the legal procedures involved in changing jobs, and help you navigate crucial decisions. 

Take Your Next Steps Forward

Employees who sustain work-related injuries or occupational diseases are eligible to receive workers' comp benefits. Likewise, resigning from your current job or taking new employment won't affect your benefits. However, if you’re considering apply for a new job, it is important that you speak with a practiced workers' compensation attorney for proper guidance and to help protect your benefits. 

At H. Rosen Law, P.C., our team is ready to assist and direct employees in their workers' compensation cases. As your legal team, we will analyze your case and determine your eligibility to apply for a new job. Also, our attorney will fight compassionately to protect your best interests and help ensure that you keep collecting the workers' comp benefits you deserve. 

Contact us at H. Rosen Law, P.C. today for a case evaluation with a dependable team. We have the reliable guidance and knowledge of the law you need in your workers' comp claims. Our firm proudly serves clients across Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton and Harrisburg.