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Furloughed is one of the new common words of 2020. I’m not sure why we are saying that instead of saying laid off, but whatever you call it, more than 16 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last few weeks.
For most people, if you get let go, either permanently or temporarily, filing filing for unemployment makes sense. But for the people I talk to, the ones who are hurt have been hurt at work, you might want to do something different.
A lot of people get injured on the job and even though they are still seeing the doctor, they are able to work. If you have any work restrictions, once you get let go, instead of getting unemployment, you should begin to get TTD benefits. It’s likely more money and it doesn’t expire. If you end up off work with restrictions for a year, you should get paid for that whole year.
This isn’t anything new. It’s how it’s always been for laid off workers. COVID 19 presents something unique to Illinois work comp. A lot of people who get injured on the job would need restrictions, but never ask get them from their doctor because they aren’t needed to do their job or they work for someone who won’t ask for the restrictions, but instead will let the worker tell them what they can do.
So if you work as a cook and have a back injury where you can’t lift boxes of food, you might not have formal, written restrictions. It may be that your boss is cool and has others help you with lifting. Now you find yourself out of a job and in reality shouldn’t be lifting more than 20 pounds.
If this is your situation, you need to immediately call your doctor and ask them to put your need for work restrictions in writing. If you have that, you should begin to get TTD benefits and keep getting them until your restrictions go away or you get a job that is within your restrictions.
Now Illinois work comp law is famous for insurance companies not always doing what they should be doing. With Coronavirus, we’ve seen many insurance companies tell workers that they should just be filing for unemployment. That’s a terrible idea. Unemployment benefits run out. Work comp does not. And if you medically don’t need restrictions, you could then file for unemployment at that time.
Like normal times, insurance companies are going to look out for themselves, not you. Don’t take legal advice from them. If you have been hurt at work it’s more important than ever to at least get a consultation to know your rights and options. Contact us any time if you want to speak to an attorney for free.