Earning While On Benefits – Is It Possible?
Accidents happen anywhere – at home, at school, and even at work. Actually, let me rephrase – most often at work.
Many employees have to expose themselves to many risks and dangers just so that society keeps running. Great progress comes with great responsibility, or so we would always say. Every infrastructure that gets built, every skyscraper that rises, and every house that stands require the effort and hard work of so many people; each one of them putting their physical body in harm’s way. Aside from the immediate risks, there’re also many health hazards involved with the job. Inhaling vast amounts of construction chemicals can lead to the deterioration of one’s health and he becomes more susceptible to diseases and illnesses like Tuberculosis and the flu. Overfatigue caused by too much physical and mental stress may also lead to numerous health implications that may possibly hinder productivity and performance at work.
All these things challenge our employees at work. They do so much to keep society up and running; it only goes to show that they serve the best care too. This is why the Workers Compensation Act exists.
What Is The Workers Compensation Act?
The WCA or Workers Compensation Act is a law that protects the rights and interests of private and public sector employees with regards to personal injury. Under the said act, an employee is entitled to state-issued benefits if he or she (1) contracts an illness in the workplace that prohibits him/her from doing any productive work or (2) gets into an accident in the workplace that temporarily or permanently incapacitates him/her to do any payable work. Because employees are working very hard to contribute to the needs of society, they may eventually jeopardize their health doing so. When that time comes, the law’s role is not to forsake these individuals but to help them get back on their feet. This is to compensate for the time and opportunities they lost to earn money. As a general rule, state benefits are awarded under the following conditions:
- The company that the employee works for dutifully pays WC insurance fees.
- The person in question is a bona fide employee of the company; he is not an independent contractor or an outsourced worker.
- The company has 5 or more employees; except for construction companies. They are required to pay WC insurance fees regardless of their employee count due to the nature of their business.
If you suffer a personal injury at work and your company qualifies for all the conditions above, you are entitled to state-issued WC benefits. A company with 5 or more employees (or in the construction industry) that doesn’t comply with the provisions under the Workers Compensation Act are punishable by law. Depending on the case, evasion of such mandatory payments may warrant monetary penalties, cessation of business, or worse – imprisonment.
I’m A Beneficiary Of Workers Compensation, Am I Allowed To Do Paid Work?
If we’re strictly following the law, then no you are not allowed to work. But then again, closely following the law, maybe you can.
But this is only possible if you monitor your earnings carefully.
Just because you’re injured does not mean that you’re completely unable to do any productive work while recuperating – not unless you’ve suffered a really serious injury, of course. Most employees who receive Workers Comp benefits have suffered personal injuries that still allow them to do substantial amount of activity. It’s just that they’re not that fit to resume the kind of job they were doing before their big accident. Still, I guess all of you can relate when I say that life doesn’t stop when you’re sick. You still have a family to feed, bills to pay, and other things to mind that require money. Benefits are great and all but they’re meant to keep you alive. Your children’s tuition, home needs, and other miscellaneous fees are usually not part of the deal.
We completely understand why you would still want to work given the circumstance. This is why we are going to help you out. If you are going to earn money on the side, just make sure that you follow the following conditions closely.
- You have to earn a total of $1,180 or less per month. Any higher than this and your case may be reconsidered and you’ll be stripped of your benefits. After all, many people are in need of such money. If you can earn way more than this much, then the state will have to disqualify you from your claims.
- You have to work less than 45 hours per month. This one is very important. Although you are well on your way to normal health, you are still classified as “sick.” Failure to abide by this condition would only mean that you are in a state of health fit enough to fend for your own needs. If found out, your case will be reconsidered and you will be disqualified for all future claims.
- You are the sole proprietor of a business (you are self-employed) and there is no one else qualified to watch over it for you.
Don’t worry, though. Even if you are caught violating some of these conditions, you will not be stripped of your benefits right then and there. You are given a grace period of nine months to try working again. For these 9 months, you will continue to receive your disability benefits. However, in any such case that you fail to resume work (e.g. a relapse of a medical condition, low stamina, etc.), your state benefits will continue for as long as you’re well enough to try again. You only fully graduate from these benefits when you manage to work past nine months without ever falling ill again.