January 30, 2023

Can I Work While Getting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Category: Workers Compensation

Author: Matthew T. Hurm, Esq.

Yes, injured workers can absolutely work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. That said, you need to report that income to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and a portion of it will be deduced from your benefits. There are different kinds of jobs an injured worker can get while receiving benefits and each are a little different in how they affect your income.

Light Duty Positions

Employers frequently offer light duty positions to injured workers. This firm frequently recommends that injured workers accept light duty offers from their employer, so long as your doctor says the light duty job satisfies any physical limitations you suffer. The reason the firm supports light duty work—and why employers frequently offer those positions—is because studies have found that working light duty jobs leads to faster recovery for the worker. This is your career we are trying to protect. So long as the light duty job is within your doctor’s limitations, your recovery is likely to be faster and more permanent.

When an employer offers a light duty job they pay you your normal wages and those wages will be deducted from your workers’ compensation benefits. Usually, these light duty jobs pay better than the benefits you are receiving. If you have specific questions, you should call the Hurm Law Firm.


When an injured worker is temporarily unable to perform their regular job, that does not mean they cannot perform work that is within their doctor’s restrictions. If someone is missing work because they injured their right knee, it does not mean that that individual cannot type from home or perform other work that does not require use of the right knee. Such an individual can work as a contractor or even start their own business, so long as they report the income to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in their paperwork. That said, the injured worker does need to be careful. Employers can hire private detectives and other professionals to monitor you and ensure you truly are as injured as your doctors believe. Thus, the work you perform must be within your doctor’s limitations, or problems can arise.

Working For Another Employer

Similar to self-employment, working for another employer, be it a second job or a new job, requires that you stay within your doctor’s restrictions and report any income to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. 

For Individuals on Permanent Total Benefits

Most individuals with workers’ compensation benefits receive temporary total benefits. These are benefits that a worker receives temporarily with the understanding that the worker will eventually recover and be able to work again. That is not the case when someone receives permanent total benefits. In that instance, a worker is permanently and totally unable to work. If you are receiving permanent total benefits, you have proved to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Industrial Commission that you are permanently unable to work. If you begin to work again, you will no longer be able to receive permanent total benefits. If you have a question about permanent total benefits, you will need to contact the Hurm Law Firm.

Other Questions About What You Can Do While Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits

What can I do while receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits?

This is a great question and one we get frequently. Some workers are permanently unable to work while others are only disabled temporarily. During the healing process you are given work limitations by your doctor, either that you are completely unable to work because you are unable to perform many specific physical actions such as lifting or pulling, etc. or you able to work on a limited basis, but with several physical limitations, such as the inability to stand for over a specified period of time or the inability to lift or pull, etc.

If you are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, you should absolutely never exceed the physical limitations your doctor declares for two main reasons: 

  1. Your doctor does not limit your physical actions for no reason. If your doctor declares that you should not lift 5 lbs, do not go lifting picnic benches. It can aggravate your ongoing injury and it can make matters worse.
  2. Furthermore, employers do frequently hire private investigators in case they suspect the injured worker is acting fraudulently. Workers’ Compensation fraud is a crime. And when an injured worker performs work outside his doctor’s limitations, it makes it look like they are not as injured as they have led others to believe. The vast majority of injured workers have good work ethics and want to help around at home and return to their normal lives as quickly as possible, but they have to be careful because employers will take these innocent actions out of context and make the worker look bad. Be careful, be smart, and follow your doctor’s advice.

Short Answer: You can do anything your doctor says you can, but never exceed your doctor’s limitations.

Can I Interview while receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

Absolutely. And you do not have to report that to anyone. If you get the job, you should speak with your attorney about the next step, but there are no limitations on someone interviewing for a new job and we wish you luck!

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