What Happens If You Get Caught Working While on Workers’ Comp?


Jan Reburiano

If you get caught working while on workers’ comp without reporting your earnings, you may be charged with insurance fraud. You’ll be forced to pay fines worth thousands of dollars or even prison time depending on your state’s laws.

Working under the table while on workers compensation may seem appealing to cover lost wages from your injury. Ordinary bills like mortgages and car payments creep up as your earning capacity diminishes due to your condition. Not reporting income, however, is illegal in most states and is considered a misdemeanor for most cases.

If you are unsatisfied with the workers’ comp payments you’ve been receiving, you can reopen your case with a workers’ compensation attorney. Reach out by calling 888-927-3080 to connect with a local attorney who knows your state’s laws.

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Can You Work While on Workers’ Comp?

Working while on workers’ comp is possible depending on your injury and the job role. You must be cleared to do light-duty work by your doctor before working while on workers’ compensation benefits.

It is important to inform your insurance provider of all your job changes during this period. Not reporting your income while receiving benefits is considered workers’ compensation fraud and subject to fines and jail time. It is important to keep contact with your attorney when doing light-duty work to avoid prosecution during this time.

If you’re cleared for light-duty work and earn less income before your injury, you may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are meant to compensate you for lost wages from your changed job position. Partial disability will pay you two-thirds of the difference from your previous and current wages.

Make sure you consult with a workers’ compensation attorney before making job changes while injured. Verify if you’re able to work by your doctor and how these changes affect your benefits.

Factors that Affect If You Can Work While on Workers’ Comp

If you had a second job before your injury, you should continue working there and verify your workers’ comp eligibility with your doctor and attorney.

If looking for a new job, you should consider these factors before working while injured:

  1. Does this job worsen your injuries?
  2. Are you able to work at a lesser capacity while you’re injured?
  3. Will this job potentially reduce your workers’ compensation benefits?

Insurance companies reserve the right to use public information as evidence to terminate your workers’ compensation benefits. They may use a private investigator to see whether your actions line up with your claim. Your employer may even use your social media as evidence to claim you can go back to work.

A workers’ compensation attorney will protect you from legal action from your employer while protecting your benefits. You don’t need to risk working under the table if you have an attorney on your side.

What Happens if I’m Caught?

Working under the table while receiving workers’ comp carries drastic consequences when caught. Your benefits will be revoked and you have to pay costly fines. You may even be sentenced to prison due to accusations of workers’ compensation fraud.

Each state has different penalties for workers’ compensation fraud. For example, Florida considers this crime as a felony and lists the following potential penalties for fraud:

  • For fraud under $20,000 you may be sentenced to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine
  • For fraud between $20,000 and $100,000 you may be sentenced to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • For fraud over $100,000 you may be sentenced to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney For Your Claim

Find out if your condition allows for light-duty work with a workers’ compensation attorney. Most attorneys work under contingency fees, meaning you won’t have to pay upfront until you receive your benefits.

File your claim as soon as possible as there is a deadline to file for workers’ comp called the statute of limitations. Each state’s deadline is different, but if you fail to meet the deadline, you won’t be able to file for benefits for your injury.

To consult with an attorney about your case, call 888-927-3080 or fill out this short evaluation form below to start with your consultation:

Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.