Unemployment Benefits and Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota
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Unemployment Benefits and Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota

Injured Minnesota workers worried about paying the bills may want to seek both unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. Often, you cannot receive both types of benefits at the same time. Many workers may want to explore getting both types of benefits during different periods of time so that they can financially support their families.

Can You Get Unemployment and Workers Comp at the Same Time?

Workers’ comp benefits help employees during a time when they cannot work, so that they can hopefully return to work in the future. In contrast, unemployment benefits help workers who have been laid off while they look for new jobs. The state does not want most workers to collect both types of benefits at the same time. The only situation in which you may be eligible for both is if your workers’ comp benefits would be less than your unemployment benefits during the same period of time. This situation is unlikely. If your workers’ comp benefits would be more than the unemployment benefits during the same time period, you cannot get the unemployment benefits.

You can get unemployment benefits while you have a pending workers’ comp claim (such as a Claim Petition filed after denial of benefits) if you are actively seeking work and able to do that work. This can help you pay the bills when you have no workers’ comp coming in, pressing medical needs, and no job. But the truth is, not all workers are able to do work during the time a workers’ comp claim is pending. Others were not terminated by their employers after their injuries. As a result, they may not be eligible for unemployment anyway.

Practically speaking, if you have only a partial disability or no work restrictions but still have a pending workers’ comp claim, you probably can apply for unemployment benefits. However, be aware that if you later win the petition for workers’ comp benefits, you will have to pay back any unemployment you received during the time when you should have received workers’ comp. This is because you usually cannot get both types of benefits during the same time period – even if the benefits are awarded retroactively.

Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If I Was Injured at Work?

In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must have the physical capability to work. This means the state expects you to actively look for work. The state also expects you to accept an offer for work when on unemployment compensation. However, if your injury makes you physically unable to perform work tasks, you will be unable to accept a job when it is offered.

Some exceptions do apply to this strict rule. If the injury you sustained left you disabled and unable to work, but you have the ability to work in a different position that includes “reasonable accommodations,” you may have the right to received unemployment compensation while pursuing another job.

The term “reasonable accommodations” refers to the employer making modifications to the working environment or the work position itself to aid the employment in his ability to function at the job. Examples of these accommodations can include adjusting the employee’s working hours, adding a ramp for a wheelchair, or adding an ergonomic workstation for the employee.

How to File for Unemployment in MN

Someone who is let go from a job in Minnesota may file for unemployment benefits by phone or online. After filing initially, for each week you are claiming benefits you are required to continuing filing weekly claims with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Upon receiving application, the DEED will send you information including a Determination of Benefit Account that provides the potential amount of unemployment compensation you may receive each week and the duration of the payments.

Challenging a Denial of Workers’ Comp Benefits

To effectively challenge denials of workers’ comp benefits, consider retaining a lawyer to help you fill out and file the Claim Petition. You can ask your lawyer about the pros and cons of applying for unemployment benefits when you might get workers’ comp in the future. Having a lawyer makes the process of petitioning for benefits after a denial much smoother and allows you time to job search.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.