Looking for Work While Collecting Workers’ Compensation for a Partial Disability
When a partially disabled worker receives workers’ compensation benefits, that worker has a duty to stay “attached to the labor market.” That means that if your doctor says you can do some type of work, even if you can’t do your old job, you have a duty to continue looking for work in order to continue receiving benefits. In this post, we will discuss what you need to do to prove to the Workers’ Compensation Board that you are “attached to the labor market” when you are partially disabled.
Partially disabled workers must make an effort to look for work that is appropriate given their education, training, experience and physical limitations. This means that you have to look for work you can actually do. So, if you were an injured construction worker with a partial disability that doesn’t allow any lifting of more than 10 pounds, you probably shouldn’t be looking for work that requires you to lift 60 pounds.
Partially disabled workers must show proof to the Workers’ Compensation Board that they are trying to stay “attached to the labor market.” There are a number of different things you can do to demonstrate that attachment:
- Active and ongoing participation with Rochester Works! or with the office of Adult Career & Continuing Ed Service – Vocational Rehabilitation(ACCESS-VR);
- Attending School or Training Programs to retrain for a new career;
- Conducting a job search on your own.
The absolute easiest way to prove your attachment to the labor market is to get involved with Rochester Works! or ACCESS-VR. These programs can help you start actively looking for work, prepare a resume, practice interviewing skills, and even re-train you for a new career. Another great thing about these programs is that it is very easy to document what you are doing to prove your attachment to the labor market. But it is important to note that you have active and ongoing participation with one or both of these programs. This means you must follow the steps below:
- Call for an appointment
- Attend an orientation session
- Meet with a counselor and develop a resume
- Register the resume in their computer system
- Follow up on a regular basis to see if there are any job matches
- Follow up on all job referrals and matches by applying
Should you choose to conduct a job search on your own, without the help of one of these programs, you must make sure to keep very detailed notes of all your job search activities. This means keeping lists and records of:
- Where you are looking for work
- Which jobs you applied for and how you applied (by mail, in person, online)
- The date of the contact, name of the person you applied to, the address of the company and the nature of the job you applied for
- Whether you heard back from the jobs you applied for and, if not, what you did to follow-up on them
- Which interviews you attended
- Whether you received any job offers and if you declined, why
You must also save all e-mails, completed applications and letters you send or receive in relation to your job search. As you can see, conducting your own job search puts a much heavier burden on you than actively participating with Rochester Works! or ACCESS-VR. Of course, you could always do both, but whichever avenue you decide to take, just make sure you keep careful records of all your work-related activities.