On-the-job injuries can be devastating to one’s finances and sense of wellbeing. Injured employees face an uncertain future with respect to their ability to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed before the injury.
This uncertainty is compounded when the injured employee seeks to embark on a new career or maintain a second job they worked before the accident.
While a second job may have helped the injured employee make ends meet before the accident, it may pose complications in the midst of a workers’ compensation claim.
Many disabled employees express concern about how a second job will impact their benefits. In general, the answer depends on your circumstances, in particular, whether the injured employee had the second job before the accident and the demands of the second job.
What Is the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act?
Prior to 1913, employees in Minnesota lacked any remedy for work-related injuries outside of the tort system. Under the scheme, disabled employees had to show fault on the part of their employer before they could recover benefits.
Tort cases typically took a significant amount of time to work their way through their court system. This left injured employees without compensation at a time when they and their families needed it the most.
In response to this flawed system, the Minnesota legislature passed the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act (MWCA). If injured on the job, the Act provides employees with full compensation for medical bills and partial compensation for lost wages. The MWCA covers injured workers for permanent disabilities and decreased earning potential.
Can I Get a Second Job While Collecting Benefits?
Typically, the answer is no. Injured employees must keep in mind that a second job may not be in their best interests if they are collecting wage benefits. This is the case whether your injury prevents you from working your past job in the short-term, long-term, or permanently.
Workers receive workers’ compensation benefits because they are injured and are unable to perform the job duties they once performed.
If an injured employee is physically capable of working a second job, the current amount of their benefits may be deemed unnecessary. In such a case, the employer may seek to reduce or terminate the benefits completely.
What If I Had a Second Job Before the Injury and Can’t Perform the Job Now?
If you had a second job with another employer at the time of your injury, your workers’ comp benefits may encompass the second income. If you had a part-time job on the date you sustained the injury, you may be entitled to extra benefits.
This is the case when the injury prevents you from working the part-time job. The amount of the benefits may be calculated from the total income you would usually receive from both jobs combined.
What If I Had a Second Job Before the Injury and Can Perform the Job Now?
Injured employees often ask this question when dealing with the issue of working a second job while disabled. It is often the case that the second job may require less physical labor or entail shorter hours. It may even be in a completely different industry and require different skill sets.
The primary employer or their insurance company is likely going to take notice when an injured employee asserts that they are unable to perform their primary job but are capable of working a second. They very well may seek to adjust the benefits they are paying out to compensate for the additional income.
In fact, your ability to do your second job may adversely impact the successfulness of your claim. Injured employees wanting to preserve their second job must keep in mind that there is a risk their employer or the employer’s insurance company may use it against them.
They may avoid paying wage benefits based on your income from the second job. Or they may claim that the responsibilities of your second job evidence your ability to perform the primary job. In this situation, your benefits may be cut altogether.
Get Professional Help with Your Workers’ Comp Case
Disabled employees eager to embark on a new career after their accident must consider the applicable law and risk to their personal finances. Accepting a new job while on workers’ comp may result in the reduction if not cancelation of your benefits. Navigating Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law can be complex and overwhelming.
Whether it be filing claims or appealing decisions to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, the attorneys at Arechigo and Stokka are committed to understanding your unique circumstances and goals. Contact us today for a free consultation.