This question arises frequently in Los Angeles and all across California, as it is not uncommon for California residents to work two jobs at once. Moreover, workers who have been injured on the job and are collecting workers compensation often find employment somewhere else just to keep themselves occupied or earn a living while receiving workers comp.
But is working a second job while collecting workers compensation – from a workplace injury that you suffered at the primary job – viewed as fraud or a violation of California laws? In other words, can you work a second job while receiving workers comp benefits without losing your eligibility for these benefits and/or facing workers compensation fraud charges?
“Technically, you can,” says our workers compensation attorney in Los Angeles at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach. “However, there are tremendous risks that you may want to consider before continuing to work your part-time job or seeking employment somewhere else while receiving compensation for your work-related injury.”
Many injured workers in Los Angeles and all across California do not realize this but if you already had a second, part-time job in addition to your primary job at the time of the workplace injury, your workers compensation benefits may completely or partially cover the loss of wages at the second job.
However, there are very specific requirements to qualify for receiving workers compensation benefits for the loss of income at both the primary and secondary job if you were injured at the full-time job. Our Los Angeles workers compensation attorney explains that any secondary income at the time of the workplace injury must be reported in your workers comp claim in order to qualify for receiving benefits for both the full-time and part-time jobs.
Generally, people in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California may choose to continue working a second job or find a new job while receiving workers comp benefits if that second job is less physically demanding. In other words, an injured worker may be able to work a second job while being unable to work his/her primary job because it has nothing to do with his/her injured body parts. For example, a construction worker who injured himself at the construction site and is collecting workers compensation benefits may choose to get sedentary, office-based work. While that injured worker is unable to perform his duties at the primary job, as it requires demanding physical work, he is able to sit and do the office work without aggravating his injuries.
If that is the case, our Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach warns that your insurance company may adjust your workers comp benefits proportionally to the amount of income that you receive at the second job. If, on the other hand, the second job requires similar or the same physical demands, you may lose your workers comp eligibility altogether and even be accused of defrauding your primary employer.
This is a tricky subject that you may want to discuss with an experienced workers compensation lawyer during a face-to-face consultation. Generally, however, if you are receiving workers compensation benefits, you are legally required to report any additional income. Not doing so may result in a workers compensation fraud charge, which is punishable by law with up to five years in California prison, a fine of $150,000, and/or restitution to the employer and/or insurer affected by the fraud.
Do not attempt to fool the system and work a second job while receiving pay under the table and collecting workers compensation benefits at the same time. Get a free consultation about your particular situation by calling the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach at 818-609-7005 or complete this contact form.