In Minnesota, an applicant may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits and workers compensation benefits at the same time, but that doesn’t mean you should.
If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you are eligible for both unemployment and workers compensation benefits, please consider seeking immediate help such that you can prevent being nailed for unemployment fraud.
What makes collecting unemployment and workers compensation so complicated?
There are a variety of issues that an applicant needs to be aware of. First, work comp cases in Minnesota always take longer than you anticipate. Whether you are waiting for your injury to heal or you are waiting for the work comp insurance company to issue you a check for lost wages and or an injury, any money you receive will impact your unemployment check.
Second, Minnesota unemployment law presumes you are able to work. If you are not able to work due to your injury, then you are likely ineligible for unemployment benefits under rule 268.085.
On the other hand, if you are able to work with restrictions, you more likely to be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, this to can be a problem because a hurt worker’s transition back to their job or a different job will impact their rights from a work comp perspective.
Third and even more significantly, a person eligible for unemployment benefits in Minnesota is presumed to have been discharged for reasons other than employment misconduct or quitting for a good reason caused by their employer. Compare these presumptions to work comp rules in Minnesota, which attempts to compensate you while you recover from your injuries such that you can return to your old or past job as soon as possible. Thus, work comp rules and unemployment claims in Minnesota contradict one another.
Thus, collecting work comp and unemployment benefits is a complicated.
What are the unemployment and workers compensation laws for Minnesota?
The rule in Minnesota says if a worker’s loss of wage benefits are higher than their weekly unemployment benefit amount, then the worker trying to collect unemployment benefits in Minnesota is not eligible for unemployment benefits.
On the other hand, if a worker’s loss of wages specific to their workers compensation benefit was less than their weekly unemployment benefit amount, then the person trying to collect unemployment benefits in Minnesota would likely be eligible for unemployment benefits if trying to collect both benefits simultaneously.
What to expect when collecting unemployment and work comp benefits:
If you are requesting unemployment benefits and work comp in Minnesota, you will likely be required to seek medical opinions to support your claims. That said, doctors routinely overstate and render opinions that hurt or damage an applicant’s claim for benefits.
However, you can help yourself and your claim by seeking a lawyer to review the doctor’s medical opinion prior to it being submitted to DEED or the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. I recognize this appears to be a self serving statement. Look, the doctor’s number one interest is your health. Your lawyer’s number one interest is seeking a monetary benefit on your behalf. These goals are not the same, which is why you need both professionals in your corner.
What is the worst that could happen if I apply and get denied unemployment and workers compensation benefits?
A mistake or miss classification might result in a fraudulent overpayment of unemployment benefits. Also, a mistake regarding your rights to seek or appeal for work comp benefits can be jeopardized.
Remember, the intent of these benefits is to supplement your income for job loss and to help you recover from your injuries. Both of these benefits can have huge financial impacts. Thus, know the rules and apply them to your advantage.