Workers Comp vs Unemployment Benefits: What’s the Difference?

For employees, it’s crucial to understand the difference between workers compensation and unemployment benefit programs so you know which one applies in various situations. This article attempts to educate readers on the key differences like eligibility, benefits, and application processes.

If you end up in a situation where you might qualify for either benefit, consult with your HR department and a Cincinnati workers comp attorney to determine the best option for your circumstances.

Workers Compensation Overview

Workers compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. It’s a form of insurance that employers are required to carry to protect their employees in the event of a workplace accident or sickness.

How It Works

If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, you must report it to your employer as soon as possible. They will file a claim with their workers comp insurance provider, who will review your case to verify it’s covered. Once approved, they will cover approved medical costs and pay wage replacement benefits, typically two-thirds of your average weekly pay. The amount and duration depend on the severity of your injury.

Who’s Covered?

Virtually all employees are covered by workers comp, including part-time and temporary workers. The only exceptions are typically business owners, independent contractors, and volunteers. If you get hurt at work or develop an illness related to your job, you’ll be covered.

Unemployment Benefits Explained

Unemployment benefits provide temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. If you’re laid off, fired without cause, or quit for a valid reason, like unsafe working conditions, you’ll typically qualify for unemployment.

How It Works

When you’re employed, you and your employer pay into the unemployment insurance fund. If you become unemployed, you can file a claim to receive benefits. The specific amount you receive depends on factors like your previous earnings and the unemployment rate in your state. Most people receive between $300 to $600 per week for up to 26 weeks.

Who Qualifies

To receive unemployment benefits, you must meet certain requirements like:

  • Losing your job through no fault of your own. If you quit voluntarily or were fired for misconduct, you likely won’t qualify.
  • Earning enough wages during your base period, which is usually the first 4 of the last five calendar quarters before your claim.
  • Being able, available, and actively seeking work. You must be physically able to work, available to accept suitable job offers and make an effort to find new work.
  • Meeting your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during your base period. Each state sets its own eligibility rules.

reporting a work injury is the first step towards obtaining benefits

Key Differences Between Workers Comp and Unemployment

The primary differences between workers compensation and unemployment benefits relate to who provides the benefits, why the benefits are paid, and what types of expenses they cover.

Source of Benefits

Employers provide workers compensation benefits to cover work-related injuries, while unemployment benefits are provided by state governments to temporarily support workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

Reason for Payments

Workers comp pays for expenses due to injuries or illnesses suffered on the job, including medical bills and lost wages. Unemployment benefits provide income for workers who are out of work due to layoffs, downsizing, or other reasons not related to job performance.

Types of Expenses Covered

Workers compensation covers costs like hospital stays, doctor visits, physical therapy, medication, and a portion of lost income. Unemployment benefits are meant to replace a percentage of lost income on a temporary basis, usually up to 26 weeks. Unemployment does not pay for any medical expenses.

How Benefits Are Calculated

Workers comp payments are based on the severity of the injury and the portion of wages lost. Unemployment benefit amounts depend on a worker’s past earnings and state limits. Benefits are usually a percentage of a worker’s average weekly wage, up to a state maximum.

Reach Out to a Cincinnati Workers Comp Lawyer for Guidance

If you have additional questions about workers compensation or unemployment benefits, we invite you to contact our experienced legal team. We understand dealing with these complex systems can be difficult and confusing.

At Ohio Workers Compensation Lawyers, our attorneys are here to help ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve in an empowering and stress-free manner. Call us today at (833) 406-0060 to discuss your situation and next steps.