workers' compensation claim

What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Benefits?

If you’ve been injured at work, it’s imperative that you understand the difference between workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits. Although both are designed to provide financial assistance to eligible parties, there are several key differences between the two programs. In this article, we explain the difference between workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits in Illinois.  

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation benefits reimburse employees who are injured on the job for wages that they miss out on due to their injuries. Workers’ compensation entitles employees who are hurt at work to recover benefits for medical care and total or partial disability. Pursuant to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employers are responsible for paying benefits to injured workers either directly or through a workers’ compensation insurer. In order to succeed in a workers’ compensation claim, an employee must prove that his or her injury occurred in the course and scope of employment. 

Unemployment Benefits

While workers’ compensation provides financial assistance to employees who are injured at work, unemployment benefits help support unemployed individuals while they seek work. Although many injured workers may be incapable of returning to their previous employment, they may be able to work in new, less physically demanding positions. The ability to work is essential to one’s eligibility for unemployment benefits.

The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on Workers’ Compensation

The receipt of unemployment benefits may make it difficult for an injured employee to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. A workers’ compensation claim rests on the fact that an employee is unable to work due to an injury suffered at work. In other words, although the employee would prefer to work, he or she is physically unable to do so. As explained above, unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are willing and able to work but cannot find a job. 

When an injured employee applies for workers’ compensation, he or she is claiming an inability to work. However, if the same person receives unemployment benefits, this means that he or she is physically ready and willing to work. This contradiction can negatively affect an injured employee’s ability to obtain benefits. In essence, by receiving unemployment payments, an injured employee would, in the eyes of the workers’ compensation insurance company, be receiving two incomes at once. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Therefore, for additional guidance on unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation, please contact a workers’ compensation attorney

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney 

If you’ve been hurt at work, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, before you pursue a workers’ compensation claim, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will do everything in our power to ensure that you are compensated for the injuries you suffered at the workplace. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.