Difference Between Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Benefits

Chicago Lawyers Advising Injured Workers Throughout Illinois

Illinois law has devised a system of benefits for employees who suffer a work-related injury. The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck have an extensive knowledge of the differences between workers’ compensation and other potential benefits, such as unemployment benefits. We help workers and their families understand their legal options, and we provide guidance throughout the process of filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Understand the Difference Between Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to reimburse injured employees for wages that they are missing due to their injuries. Workers who are hurt in the course and scope of employment may recover a range of benefits for total or partial disability as well as benefits for medical care. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer is responsible for paying benefits to workers either directly or through a workers’ compensation insurer. Essential to a successful claim for workers’ compensation benefits is often proving the causal relationship between the injury and the workplace.

Unemployment benefits, in contrast, are designed to support individuals while they look for a new position. While many injured workers may not be capable of returning to their previous employment, they may be able to work in a different, less physically demanding role. This ability to work is essential to a claim for unemployment benefits.

In many situations, by receiving unemployment payments, the injured worker would, in the eyes of the workers’ compensation insurance company, be receiving two wages at once. However, there are exceptions to this rule. One exception to the rule is for workers’ compensation employees who have had their claim for benefits denied. If they are unable to return to their previous position due to their injury and were forced to resign, they may be entitled to unemployment benefits. In many cases, workers would be required to apply for other positions, perhaps those that are less physically demanding or considered to be light work.

Another distinction between unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation benefits is the definition of “unemployment.” While individuals may not be currently working due to their injury, their position may be on-hold until they recover and return to the workplace. Or they may be receiving vocational rehabilitation in order to return to the workforce. Unemployment benefits are typically available to individuals who do not have a work position to which they can return.

Collecting unemployment benefits may negatively affect workers’ compensation cases. The credibility of a claim for workers’ compensation rests on the fact that the worker is unable to work due to a job-related injury. In other words, while an individual would prefer to work, they are physically unable to do so. Unemployment benefits are available to people who are willing and ready to work but cannot locate a paying job. If an injured worker is applying for workers’ compensation, they are claiming that they are unable to work, yet their claim for unemployment maintains that they are physically prepared and willing to work. This contradiction can prove challenging to a claim for benefits, although each situation is different, and an attorney can help you explain to a judge why both types of benefits may be appropriate.

Retain a Chicago Lawyer to Help with Your Claim for Benefits

Filing a claim for workers’ compensation can help injured workers receive the benefits and medical attention that they require before returning to their job. Unemployment benefits are available to some injured workers, although in most cases, individuals choose to receive either workers’ compensation benefits or unemployment. The Chicago attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck will focus on the details of your situation and provide personal legal representation that is tailored to your case. We represent individuals in need of a job injury lawyer in Champaign, Rockford, Aurora, Quincy, Springfield, and other areas of Cook, Winnebago, Kane, Adams, and Sangamon Counties. For a free consultation, contact us online or by calling (800) 444-1525.