Can I Apply For A New Job While On Workers' Compensation?

By Justin S. Eppler

Getting hurt at work can have a great effect on your livelihood, and sadly, it's becoming more and more common. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 7,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported among Alaska's private industry employers in 2019, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.5 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers.

If you are no longer able to work the job you once had, you may possibly receive workers' compensation benefits. Unfortunately, your injury may preclude you from working that kind of job again in the future, or you may feel it’s just time for you to find another job. If that's the case, it’s important to be aware that accepting another job could have ramifications on your workers' compensation benefits. Consulting with an attorney can help you figure out your next steps.

The Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC specializes in workers' compensation matters. We have the experience and resources you need to maximize your benefits and focus on your recovery. Our team serves clients in Anchorage, Alaska as well as Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, and Palmer.

Can I Apply for a New Job While on Workers’ Compensation?

Yes, you can apply for a new job while on workers’ compensation, but it may affect your benefits. There are two types of workers' compensation benefits: medical and lost wages.

When it comes to lost wages, the amount you would earn at your new job dictates whether your workers’ compensation benefits would end should you accept the position. The general rule is that if you take a new job that pays more than 80% of your previous average weekly wage, the lost-wages benefit would be terminated.

When it comes to medical benefits, you are still entitled to them as long as the major contributing cause of the need for treatment is a work-related injury. You also have to continue to see authorized workers’ compensation doctors at least once per year.

While these are the general rules, it is still good to talk to a workers' compensation attorney about your case. Workers’ compensation alleges that you are too disabled to work, so getting another job, depending on what the job is, might affect your benefits. You also want to ensure that getting a new job won’t prevent you from healing from your injury properly.

What Should I Do If I Find A New Job I Want?

If you are job hunting and an opportunity comes up, be sure to go through all of the right channels so that you don’t get into trouble with the workers’ compensation board. There are three major actions you must complete:

  1. Check with your doctor to make sure that your new position would not impede recovery and your duties are manageable with your injuries.

  2. Notify your workers’ compensation representative that you have decided to accept a new position.

  3. Complete any required paperwork.

Whatever you do, don’t try and hide your new job. Failure to report can have even worse repercussions.

What Happens If I Do Not Go Through the Proper Procedures?

Workers’ compensation laws mandate affidavits that attest to your new employment should you start a new job. Failure to do so can result in workers’ compensation fraud. This is considered a crime that can result in not only fees but jail time as well.

Work With an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation can be a delicate situation if you are looking for a new job. You don’t want your benefits to be adjusted negatively, and you want to make sure you are taking all of the correct steps as you move forward. This is where an attorney can help.

The Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC offers the representation that you need in your workers’ compensation case. We understand that successful representation is impossible without effective communication and we will work with you every step of the way. If you live in Anchorage, Alaska, or the surrounding communities of Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, and Palmer, contact us today to request a consultation.