Your Rights After Losing Your Job During COVID-19: When Do You Qualify For Workers’ Compensation?

Man Laid Off

More than 1 million people have lost their jobs in Pennsylvania as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. For workers who were on modified duty after returning to work from an injury, these layoffs are especially painful. In some cases, these workers spent weeks, months, or even years healing from their injuries so they could return to work, but they are once again without a job to support their families and pay for their medical bills. There may be help available. Workers who were laid off while in modified- or light-duty positions may qualify for reinstatement of workers’ compensation benefits.  

Understanding Light- and Modified-Duty

First, let’s review what qualifies as light- or modified-duty. Light- or modified-duty is when your employer allows you to return to work but places you in a less physically demanding job to accommodate your restrictions. In most cases, you remain in modified- or light-duty work until you’ve healed from your injuries and a doctor clears you to return to your normal responsibilities. If you normally carry heavy boxes onto trucks and around a warehouse, examples of modified duty could include taking inventory or administrative tasks at a desk. 

Workers' Compensation Form

Receiving Benefits During the Coronavirus Outbreak

If you were laid off during the COVID-19 health crisis while on light- or modified-duty, you may qualify for workers’ compensation or a lump sum settlement for wage loss benefits. 

This is true as long as you lost your job through no fault of your own. These reasons could include:

  • Layoffs caused by the threat of COVID-19
  • Layoffs caused by the economic downturn
  • Layoffs caused by the stay-at-home order reducing sales

Under these circumstances, you could receive a reinstatement of compensation to provide financial assistance as you continue to heal from your injuries outside of the workplace. 

When You Don’t Qualify For Workers’ Compensation

If you were fired for cause (for example, disciplinary reasons), you may not qualify for workers’ compensation. However, you should still consult an attorney to determine whether or not the termination was justified or just an excuse to avoid compensation. If you think your termination was an excuse as an act to avoid payment of compensation for reporting a work injury or going on workers’ comp, you may qualify for workers’ compensation and possibly other benefits. 

Receive Expert Legal Assistance

Although the coronavirus may interrupt your work life, it should not interrupt your financial life. If you were working under restrictions and now are unable to work, you could qualify for workers’ compensation or a lump sum settlement agreement. Contact us. We’ll examine your situation to determine whether you’re entitled to additional compensation.

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