Can I Work Off the Books If I’m Collecting Workers’ Compensation?

Seeking a little under-the-table cash can cost you your benefits. The Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman can answer all of your questions about having an all-cash job. Call us today in Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford for more information.

Can I Work Off the Books If I’m Collecting Workers’ Compensation?

As an employee, it can feel like an uphill battle trying to receive your workers’ compensation benefits when you become injured on the job. If you are one of the few employees who are able to receive your benefits with as little hassle as possible, you want to make sure that there are no suspicious activities on your part that could affect your ability to continue receiving benefits.

There are some actions you may engage in that may cause your employers to question whether you should continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits. One of the main actions is picking up a side gig for cash – AKA, working under the table.

Refraining from working under the table while collecting workers’ compensation benefits is pretty self-explanatory. The reason why you are able to receive workers’ compensation benefits is that you are injured and unable to perform your usual duties. If your employer discovers that you are working in any capacity, he or she may assume that you are physically capable of performing your regular duties. Your employer may decide to have you return to your current position or accuse you of more serious accusations like insurance fraud.

What if I am already working a second job?

You may be one of the many people who have two jobs. If you have a second job at the time of your injury, it is best to report any additional income when filing your workers’ compensation claim. In this case, the workers’ compensation benefits you receive on your primary job will either completely or partly cover the loss of your second income. If it is proven that your injury prohibits you from working at your second job, more than likely your workers’ compensation benefits will cover the total amount of income you would generate from both jobs.

What if I find myself able to still work my second job?

The insurance company may take the nature of your second job into account when either determining the number of benefits you are eligible to receive or whether to process your claim. For example, if your first job requires you to perform more physical labor, and your second job requires you to perform more administrative duties, you may be able to continue to perform administrative work while collecting benefits.

The insurance company may just decide to reduce or scale back your benefits, however. Some employers may argue that your ability to perform at your second job is proof that you can perform the duties of your first job, which can put you in jeopardy of losing your benefits.

If you are thinking about taking on a second job because your benefits are still not enough to make ends meet, you want to do the same thing and communicate this information to your employer. In general, it is best to avoid a second job that could compromise your benefits – not just because of the money coming in, but because workers’ compensation pays for your medical treatments when you’re injured at work. Not only could a second job put your weekly wage loss benefits at risk, but it could compromise your medical treatments, too.

What can happen if I am suspected of working under the table?

Whatever additional income you receive while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you want to make sure you report all of it. Failing to do so will put you in jeopardy of being accused of insurance fraud. You can be subject to insurance fraud if your employer suspects you of working an additional job and not reporting the additional income. You are at risk of not only losing your workers’ compensation benefits but suffering from additional legal action. Some of the legal repercussions for insurance fraud in Delaware include fines up to $10,000 and up to two years of jail time.

How can my employer investigate me?

Your employer will go to great lengths to collect evidence that “proves” that you are collecting income under the table while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. One method involves hiring private investigators to follow and collect photos of you while you are doing activities like running errands.

Employers continue to hire private investigators to follow their employees around and determine whether their injuries are real or if the employee is exaggerating the extent of their injuries. In addition to private investigators, your social media platforms can be used against you. If your social media platforms have any posts or pictures of you either engaging in physical activity like playing a sport or complaining about the conditions at your other job, that type of content can be used against you.

How to prevent suspicion on the part of your employer

The most important action you can take is to report any additional income on your workers’ compensation claim. It is not illegal to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits; you just have to make sure that it is reported. Any income that is given “off of the books” and not reported is considered working under the table.

If you have already been working a second job at the time of your injury at your first job, you want to understand and make sure how maintaining the second job will affect your workers’ compensation benefits.

The Delaware workers’ compensation lawyers of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman have experience helping our clients obtain the maximum amount of benefits available to them under the law. If you have suffered an injury or disease that makes it difficult for you to travel to our office, we will come to your home. You can reach us toll-free at 302-888-2900 or by filling out our contact form to make an appointment at one of our offices at Wilmington, Seaford, and Newark.