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Can You Get Workers’ Comp & Unemployment in California?

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People who are seriously injured at work should be provided workers’ compensation coverage and the benefits it brings. Catastrophic injuries can also be so severe that the injured worker cannot feasibly or safely return to work at any point, so their employer ultimately terminates them. Or there are many cases where people quit because they can’t imagine returning to the workplace after being seriously hurt there. Such situations bring up a potential legal conflict when considering how workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits overlap and contrast.

Can you get workers’ comp and unemployment at the same time in California? Yes, you can, but only in some cases, so, no, you can’t. It is complicated, to say the least.

Your Ability to Work Affects Your Benefits

When you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you are basically waiting to return to work once you are well enough. When you receive unemployment benefits, you are receiving financial support while you seek a new job but cannot yet find one. In this context, your ability to work after a workplace accident becomes critical.

If you’re too hurt to work at all after a workplace injury, then you cannot reasonably seek a new form of employment. Therefore, you cannot be eligible for unemployment benefits. In this case, you can’t get unemployment benefits because you don’t fit the description of someone who needs it. Instead, you would likely be eligible for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.

No Benefits Double-Dipping

What happens if you willingly quit your job after a workplace accident and you do have a reasonable ability to work? Can you get unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation? Yes, in some situations, you can.

Workers’ comp benefits and unemployment benefits mostly pertain to entirely separate types of damages and expenses. You can receive benefits from both types of financial support as long as their benefits do not overlap, or you don’t “double-dip.”

For example, you might be able to receive workers’ compensation to pay for your medical bills and unemployment as a form of income replacement while looking for new work. But you cannot get disability payments from a workers’ compensation policy while also getting disability payments from unemployment or another state-managed disability program.

Legal Help for the Injured & Unemployed

The situation will be complicated if you need workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits concurrently. We highly recommend you speak with a workers’ compensation attorney in your area to learn more about what your state allows. If there is a conflict of benefits and you can only choose one, then they can also help you understand which benefit will do the most for you while you recover from your workplace injury.

Injured workers in Newport Beach, Bakersfield, and Corona, California can count on Alvandi Law Group, P.C. Contact us to learn more about your options and how we can help you.


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