It’s no secret that living in California is expensive. Everything from housing to transportation to groceries costs more here than nearly everywhere else in the U.S. When money is tight, a workplace injury that prevents you from earning an income can come as a devastating blow to your finances. Luckily, the workers’ compensation system provides wage loss benefits that can help cover some of your expenses. But what happens when temporary disability isn’t enough to make ends meet?
At The Law Office of Matthew Russell, many of our clients ask us if they can work a second job while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. In this article, we shed some insight on this complicated topic.
HOW ARE TEMPORARY DISABILITY BENEFITS CALCULATED?
When you are unable to work due to a job-related injury, workers’ compensation is supposed to provide benefits that cover a portion of your income. In California, temporary disability benefits are calculated as two-thirds of your gross wages at the time of the injury. While your “paychecks” might appear to be less than you’re used to during this time, workers’ comp benefits are not subject to state or federal income tax, which offers financial relief.
CAN I WORK A SECOND JOB WHILE ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Though it might be tempting to pick up another job while you’re recovering from your workplace injury, don’t do it. You cannot obtain a second job to make extra money while on workers’ compensation. Collecting workers’ comp and failing to report income from a second job is considered insurance fraud. The system is designed to provide supplemental income to workers who cannot perform their normal job duties. If you are physically and mentally capable of working a second job, it will likely be found that you have healed enough to return to work or find employment somewhere else.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAD A SECOND JOB?
Many Californians have to juggle two or even three jobs to cover their basic living expenses. If you were working two jobs at the time of your workplace injury and your second job is less physically demanding, your doctor might find that you are still able to work there. In this case, your workers’ comp benefits from your primary job may be adjusted.
If your injury prevents you from working at your primary and secondary jobs, the workers’ compensation system will use the income from both of your jobs to calculate your temporary disability benefits. To receive maximum compensation, you must report your second job to the insurance company at the time of your injury and provide proof of employment. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you file the proper forms and make the right decisions for a successful outcome.
CALL A SAN DIEGO WORKERS’ COMP ATTORNEY
If you’ve been injured at work and are having difficulty with making ends meet, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The workers’ compensation system is designed to help injured workers make a physical and financial recovery, but the process can be overwhelming to navigate alone. If you had a second job at the time of your injury, our workers’ comp lawyers can help you gather proof of employment so you can collect maximum compensation. There are no up-front or out-of-pocket expenses for legal representation. Call us today at (619) 544-1506.