Choosing Between Workers' Compensation and Pension Benefits

Job Injury Lawyers Advocating for Chicago Employees

Illinois law entitles injured workers to file workers’ compensation claims for benefits. Employees who are receiving reasonable and related medical care for their injuries should receive full compensation for their harm. Additionally, workers may be entitled to a portion of their average weekly wage. In many situations, although benefits are provided by law, workers may face challenges from their employer or their employer’s insurance company. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our skilled Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers help overcome potential obstacles so that workers can receive the benefits to which they may be entitled. Workers who are entitled to pension benefits or who elect to take a pension from their employer may face decisions concerning whether to receive their workers’ compensation benefits or their pension benefits under Illinois law. We can help you determine which choice may be right for you.

Choosing Between Workers’ Compensation and Pension Benefits

Injured workers approaching retirement may be forced to choose between workers’ compensation benefits and pension benefits. The rules concerning pensions and workers’ compensation benefits can pose complexities, and several laws, including the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the Illinois Pension Code, and the Public Employee Disability Act, are geared to protect employees who may be injured while working. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (IWCA) covers workers hired in the state, as well as workers who maintain employment in Illinois. This is the case even when injuries occur out of state, such as when airline workers are injured while traveling beyond state lines.

When an employee is entitled to a pension, or elects to take their pension, due to the same injury that entitles them to workers’ compensation, they must typically choose between these types of benefits. In certain situations, employees may receive both types of benefits. For example, if an employee was engaged in a hazardous activity at work when they suffered the injury, they may not be required to choose. However, when workers’ compensation claimants receive pensions for the same injury, they may give up their right to workers’ compensation benefits.

Choosing to apply for a pension due to a work injury may affect workers’ compensation benefits like permanent total disability or partial disability benefits. An employer or insurance company that is providing compensation for temporary total disability, however, intends for these payments to compensate the employee until they return to work. In most cases, these benefits apply to injured workers who are unable to work, or to employees who can perform light-duty work but cannot locate a light-duty assignment. When an employee in this case chooses to retire and take their pension, their injury is not the reason why they are not working.

A factor that may be considered when an employee must choose pension benefits or workers’ compensation consists of assessing their ability to work. If a medical professional has required the employee to refrain from all work, this can prove essential to a claim for benefits. It may entitle the worker to permanent total disability benefits. The employer would pay these benefits for injured workers who are permanently unable to work. In these situations, the decision to retire and elect pension benefits may not be right for injured workers who may otherwise receive workers’ compensation.

Consult a Skilled Chicago Attorney to Understand Your Options for Benefits

If you are entitled to benefits according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, and if you are also entitled to a pension, you may benefit from consulting a job injury attorney. Choosing between these two systems of compensation can prove difficult for injured workers and their families. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago lawyers help people who need an attorney in Springfield, Aurora, Rockford, Champaign, and Quincy, as well as other areas of Cook, Adams, Champaign, and Kane Counties. Call us at (800) 444-1525 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation regarding your specific situation.