If you were injured on the job, applied for and received workers’ compensation benefits, but have since lost your job, you may be wondering whether you will still receive benefits. Generally, the answer is yes; you will continue to receive most types of workers’ compensation benefits after you lose your job.
However, receiving New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits after the termination of employment is not a black-and-white question, and there are some things you need to know. The first thing to note is that your employer or their insurer cannot cut off your medical benefits just because you lost your job. Thus, your medical bills will still be covered, regardless of the reason why you lost your job.
Additionally, figuring out whether you will lose your workers’ comp income benefits – also known as Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD Benefits) – after losing your job will depend on the type of benefits you currently receive and, potentially, why your employment ended.
Types of Wage Benefits
The first step in determining if your workers’ comp benefits will get cut off involves identifying which type of benefits you currently receive. There are three types of workers’ comp benefits.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD benefits)
TTD benefits are payable to injured workers who miss seven or more days of work due to their injury. These benefits equal 70% of your average weekly wage but are subject to a maximum of 75% of the statewide average weekly wage, which changes annually. You will receive TTD benefits until you can return to work in some capacity (not necessarily at the same position you had before your injury) or you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI). Maximum medical improvement is the point where no further medical treatment will improve your condition. Once you reach your maximum medical improvement, you may then qualify for either permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD benefits)
If you suffered an injury that prevents you from working but affects only a certain part of your body, you might qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The amount of PPD benefits you receive will depend on which body part was affected. You will only start to receive PPD benefits after you exhaust your temporary total disability benefits, meaning you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD benefits)
If your work injury made it so you cannot work at all, in any capacity, you may be eligible for PTD benefits. PTD benefits max out at 75% of the statewide average weekly wage and are initially paid for 450 weeks. However, if you are still unable to work at the end of that period, you will continue to receive benefits.
Should I Be Worried About Losing My Workers’ Comp Benefits?
If you receive permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits, you do not need to worry about your benefits if you lose your job. Your employer or their insurer will still pay for your benefits, regardless of whether you work for the company.
If you receive temporary partial disability benefits, your benefits could be on the line. However, it depends on why you leave your job.
The issue with continuing to receive temporary total disability benefits after you leave your job is that you will need to prove that you have a wage loss as a result of your work-related injury, and not solely due to other factors. If you left your job willingly and do not secure a new position, your employer may claim that you voluntarily left the workforce, and are therefore not eligible for TTD benefits.
Employers cannot legally fire you just for filing a workers’ comp claim. However, if you are going to be out for an extended period of time or are not expected to return to work, they can let you go. If you lost your job because the company laid you off, you may still receive temporary permanent disability benefits while you are out of work at the direction of an authorized physician. Additionally, if the company went out of business, you usually don’t need to worry about its continued ability to pay for your benefits because the workers’ compensation insurance company is the one who pays your benefits.
If you were fired for cause, you may also continue to receive benefits. However, in this situation, you may want to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to better understand your options and what rights you have.
The bottom line is that, in most situations, you will continue to receive benefits. However, there are a few scenarios in which they could be in jeopardy.
Consult an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
To protect your benefits – and your financial well being – reach out to a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney with any questions you may have in regard to your claim.
At Petro Cohen, our workers’ comp attorneys have over 100 years combined experience handling all different types of cases and are available to answer any questions you may have. We offer free initial consultations to discuss your specific case, and only get paid if we are successful in winning your compensation claim.
In addition, Petro Cohen, PC has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ compensation. Since 2011, the firm has been named among Best Law Firms in America® in Atlantic City for Workers’ Compensation. Frank Petro has received the highest rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials (the AV rating is only for lawyers considered the top in their field). Since 1995, Frank Petro has been named every year on the Best Lawyers in America® list for Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, Frank Petro has been named to the NJ Super Lawyers® list since 2005 in the practice area of workers’ compensation. He is also certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Workers’ Compensation Law Attorney, the highest specialty certification available to workers’ compensation attorneys in New Jersey, and has held this certification since its inception in 1998.
In addition to our headquarter office in Northfield, NJ, Petro Cohen has satellite offices in Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton. Our office hours are 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM, but we are available via e-mail (info@PetroCohen.com) and Live Chat on PetroCohen.com 24/7. Call us today to discuss your case.