3 Things to Know About Filing for Unemployment While Receiving Maintenance and Cure
Many of injured maritime workers find themselves in a legal predicament when they file for unemployment for a work injury for which they are currently receiving maintenance and cure. Filing for both could discredit future claims, such as when filing for compensation under the Jones Act.
Understand How the Two Benefits Contradict Each OtherUnemployment was designed to help folks who lost their jobs because of termination, not injury, and cannot find work. When you file for unemployment, you are basically telling the state that you are capable of working, but you simply don't have a job.
Maintenance and cure benefits, on the other hand, are given to seamen who suffered an injury and are not yet capable of returning to work. Until workers reach maximum medical improvement, they are legally entitled to maintenance and cure benefits.
In other words:
- unemployment means you can work; and
- maintenance and cure means you can't.
Workers May Run into Trouble When Filing for Multiple BenefitsMany maritime workers wind up filing a Jones Act claim to recover compensation for damages. The Jones Act allows injured workers hurt because of an employer's negligence to recover more substantial compensation for their damages than the standard maintenance and cure benefits.
In these types of cases, workers generally claim that their injuries are prohibiting them from working, and they attempt to pursue compensation for these lost wages. If you are receiving unemployment and are simultaneously filing a Jones Act or other type of maritime claim, your employer's attorney could use your unemployment agreement to prove to the court that your injury claim is invalid.
Recognize What Type of Benefit to FileKnowing exactly what benefits you are entitled to and how to go about receiving the maximum amount of compensation the law allows is very complicated. It's highly advisable to discuss your case with a maritime lawyer to determine your rights and what benefits apply to you.
Until you've reached maximum cure, maintenance and cure benefits will apply. After the doctors have deemed you at maximum cure, unemployment will apply if you are no longer employed.
Consult a lawyer with any questions regarding eligibility for maintenance and cure, the Jones Act, and unemployment. Don't allow yourself to get caught in a legal mess by inadvertently contradicting claims of injury.