After suffering an on-the-job injury, you may be anxious to figure out how to cover your costs while you’re out of work. Applying for workers’ compensation benefits should be a top priority. However, workers’ comp after an accident is not always immediate. You might also have to appeal your claim if it’s denied, which could lead to an even longer wait time.
This may leave you wondering whether you have the right to file for unemployment while waiting for your workers’ comp claim to be approved. The laws surrounding unemployment in Ohio can be complex. Here is how unemployment and workers’ compensation claims work and what you can expect after being involved in a work-related accident.
How Long Does it Take to Collect Workers’ Comp?
The time it takes to get your workers’ compensation claim approved and begin collecting benefits varies by case. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ compensation (BWC) has 28 days to make a claim determination.
However, workers’ compensation benefits can generally come in within 30 days of your accident. You will be eligible for lost wages payments once you have been out of work for a minimum of seven days.
Unfortunately, if you are already living paycheck to paycheck as millions of Ohioans are, you need access to financial support immediately after the accident so you do not run out of income. This is where considering unemployment benefits may be in your best interests.
Can You Collect Unemployment While You Wait for Workers’ Comp?
You have the right to file for unemployment before collecting workers’ compensation benefits. However, once your application for workers’ comp has been approved, you will typically no longer be entitled to unemployment benefits.
The goal is to secure a portion of your lost income through unemployment benefits to help you get through the time between the date of the accident and the date of your application for workers’ comp approval.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment?
According to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141, specific requirements must be met before you can qualify for unemployment benefits. To start, you must be willing and able to work while you are claiming benefits. This can be tricky if your injuries will prevent you from working.
You must have also had an employee/employer relationship and paid into the state’s unemployment program, which is typically covered by employer contributions to Unemployment Insurance.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must:
- Have lost work involuntarily; or
- Had your hours reduced by your employer
Suppose you are temporarily out of work due to your injuries. In that case, you may be able to temporarily collect unemployment benefits while you wait for your workers’ compensation claim to be approved. Ultimately, it is up to the BWC to determine whether unemployment claims should be rejected or approved.
How Else Can You Sustain an Income During a Pending Claim?
If you do not qualify for unemployment benefits while you wait for workers’ comp benefits to come in, you still need to figure out how you will bring in money to support yourself and your family.
Here are some of the top ways you can continue to provide for your family despite your work-related injuries:
- Apply for government assistance programs, such as welfare, food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- File a claim for temporary disability benefits through your insurance company
- Consider taking out a private loan from a financial institution or bank
- Ask friends and family for financial support while you heal from your injuries
- Consider tapping into your retirement savings or 401(k) funds
- Speak with your attorney to find out whether pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is an option for your case
Remember, there is no guarantee that your claim for benefits will be resolved quickly. It is common for insurance companies to deny even the most deserving of workers’ comp claimants. In the meantime, make sure you have a backup plan to cover your monthly expenses and avoid financial ruin.
Meet with a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Ohio for Help Today
If you are not currently collecting workers’ comp, you can still apply for unemployment benefits. Whether your unemployment application will be approved may not be clear. Make sure you have a knowledgeable and experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA working for you, so you have the answers and insight you have been looking for.
You can learn more about what you should expect from your workers’ comp and unemployment claims when you fill out our online contact form or call our office at 419-625-7770 to schedule your confidential case review today.