No, receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not automatically make you unemployed in the eyes of the government – although there may be exceptions. Specifically, if you lost your job and it was not your fault (which is often the case if you were laid off after a workplace injury), you theoretically fit the basic requirements for unemployment in Georgia.
Even so, receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not make you eligible for unemployment benefits in most cases. In fact, it is the opposite. According to the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL), you are not eligible for unemployment insurance if you are receiving Temporary Total or Temporary Partial Workers’ Compensation payments.
On the other hand, receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not necessarily protect you from being fired and then becoming unemployed. In the state of Georgia, employers are within their rights to fire you after a work-related injury, even if you are actively receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, even though being jobless would make you unemployed in a traditional sense, it does not necessarily meet the requirements of the GDOL.
There may be some exceptions. For instance, it may be possible to pursue unemployment benefits if an insurance company delays your workers’ compensation payment. In a circumstance where you were awarded workers’ compensation and then can no longer return to your old job, you may fit the guidelines for claiming unemployment benefits as you begin your job search. A lawyer can advise you on how these rare exceptions may apply to your case.
There are many contributing factors when assessing if you are considered unemployed if you receive workers’ compensation. Ultimately, workers’ compensation lawyers are well-versed in these complicated laws and guidelines, and they may be able to help you understand your options moving forward.
How Do I Qualify for Unemployment Benefits?
As described by the GDOL, qualifying for unemployment benefits involves proving your previous income, revealing information about your last job, and showcasing your willingness to work again.
Along these lines, some of the most important requirements for unemployment benefits include, but are not limited to:
- You must have earned a minimum income level during a window of time that reflects your recent earnings. This is known as a “base period.”
- You cannot be responsible for your current unemployment. This means that you did not lose your previous job from abusive behavior, ineptitude, substance abuse, criminal acts, recklessness, or other forms of wrongdoing that would justify firing an employee.
- You must be mentally and physically capable of working again. This includes being readily available to work and actively seeking employment every week you claim benefits.
The base period is a timeframe used to determine your eligibility for benefits by looking at your income over the first four of the five most recent quarters that preceded your claim.
If a traditional base period does not offer enough relevant information to make a ruling, the GDOL will make an exception and examine the most recent four calendar quarters.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Is There a Deadline for Filing Workers’ Compensation or Unemployment Claims?
There may be time limits by which you must abide for filing your unemployment claims, but most states do not place a limit on the initial time to file. However, if you wait too long, your base period may change and affect your eligibility.
There are strict deadlines for filing an appeal if you disagree with the ruling for your claim. According to the GDOL, your right to an appeal expires 15 days after the ruling is made.
For workers’ compensation claims, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §34-9-82 requires you to file a claim within one year of your injuries in most cases. If you do not meet this deadline, your right to benefits may be nullified.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights
Here at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we believe in fighting for the rights of Georgia’s workers. With the many complexities involved in securing your benefits, we can be an advocate for you during the process.
If you are wondering whether you are considered unemployed if you receive workers’ compensation, our workers’ compensation lawyers can be there to help set your mind at ease. In addition to providing legal representation during your proceedings, our firm can be there to help gather evidence, negotiate settlements, calculate your losses, and so much more.
Above all else, we want you to know you do not have to go through this alone.
Just keep in mind that certain claims have unique deadlines that may restrict your filing window to a few weeks, months, or years.
To learn more about taking legal action after a workplace accident, contact a Bader Scott Injury Lawyers team member today at (404) 888-8888 to get started with your free consultation.