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Can I Return to Work and Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Erwin, McCane & Daly | Thursday, August 13, 2015

—Advice from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Albany, NY

For most injured parties, workers’ compensation is meant to hold them over financially until they are medically able to return to work. However, if you are an injured employee returning to work, you may wonder how it will affect their workers’ compensation payments, especially if you are still recovering from a work-related injury.

The Facts About Returning to Work

Returning to work and an active lifestyle can help expedite your recovery. However, if you are dealing with a work-related injury, you do not want to affect your workers’ compensation benefits. Here are some things you should know about returning to work while receiving benefits:

  • Medical Treatment and Payments - Even if you return to work, you will continue to receive compensation for medical treatments and the travel costs associated with those treatments. You can also be repaid for the cost of medications as well as some other prescribed items regardless of whether or not you are returning to work.
  • Lost Wages - Most injured workers return to work on a part-time or limited basis. They may also still continue to miss work hours because of their work-related injury. In these cases, workers’ compensation benefits will still pay for the absent time, referred to as Intermittent Lost Time. You will be required to notify the insurer and the Workers’ Compensation Board and keep records of any lost hours.
  • Benefit Amounts - If you return to work, here’s what will happen to the amount of workers’ compensation you receive: your new pay rate for lesser hours can still be made up with workers’ compensation benefits, known as a “reduced earnings” benefit. The amount you receive, however, will be based on the amount you have lost by returning to work on light or limited duty.

Returning to Work Only to Realize You Cannot Work

It is not uncommon for employees to return to work only to realize that working continues to delay recovery or they are unable to work. When this occurs, you can reopen your case and continue to collect workers’ compensation benefits again. You may have to go through a retraining program or the Workers’ Compensation Board’s rehabilitation staff may look for a job more suitable based on your new requirements.

Understanding workers’ compensation benefits takes experience and a sound understanding of the system. If you are unsure about returning to work and how that will impact your benefits, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Albany at Erwin, McCane & Daly today.

Call us at 518-449-2245 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation