Under Rhode Island law, you may be able to collect unemployment benefits if your employer refuses to reinstate your employment after workers’ compensation leave or terminates your job. While you may be able to collect unemployment benefits while receiving workers’ compensation, the amount of your benefits may be reduced. You will only be able to collect unemployment if your former job is no longer available.
Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Benefits
Workers’ compensation is awarded when you are injured on the job or suffer a job-related illness and are unable to work. Unemployment benefits are awarded to those who lose their job through no fault of their own and are actively available to work and are looking for employment. These two types of benefits are conflicting in their purpose and general requirements, but there are certain conditions that may qualify you to receive both types.
Typically, you are not able to collect unemployment while receiving benefits for workers’ compensation. However, there is an exception. After you’ve recovered from your injury or illness and are able to return to work, if your previous job has been terminated or your employer refuses to hire you back in your former position, you may be able to collect unemployment benefits since you are not able to resume working as you did before the injury or illness. If you are able to receive unemployment benefits when returning to your job after a workplace injury, your benefit amount will most likely be reduced.
Returning to Work or Finding Suitable Employment Following a Workers' Compensation Claim in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, laws exist to protect injured workers who have restrictions or physical disabilities and are unable to return to their previous job. The vocational rehabilitation program provides job retraining services at no cost to injured workers to teach them new skills that can help them become employed. This program does not affect the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive.
You have the right to be reinstated to your former job for a period of up to a year following your injury or illness according to Rhode Island law. This right exists even if your employer terminated you from your previous position. If your previous job is no longer available, you have the right to be reinstated to another job that is open and available. If your place of employment closes, the insurance company is still obligated to cover your workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits
Another type of benefit that workers are able to receive is Social Security disability. If you receive Social Security disability benefits, the amount you receive may be reduced while receiving workers’ compensation. If you receive workers’ compensation and are then awarded Social Security benefits, the amount of workers’ compensation will not be reduced, and you will continue to receive the full amount. Once your workers’ comp case is settled, your Social Security benefits may be recalculated.
How to Maximize Your Workers' Compensation Benefits in Rhode Island
Hiring an attorney who is experienced in both workers’ comp laws and unemployment compensation can help protect your legal rights and maximize your benefits.
An attorney can do the following to help with your case:
- Determine the value of your claim and whether you qualify for both types of benefits
- Gather necessary evidence to support the need for unemployment in addition to your workers’ compensation
- Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
- Review proposed settlements
- Help with your appeal if benefits are denied
- Represent you if your case goes to court
Have You Been Injured on the Job in Rhode Island?
If you've been hurt at work, you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help work injury victims in Providence, Warwick, and all areas of Rhode Island.