Laid off due to Coronavirus, do I File for Workers Comp or Unemployment?
In light of the coronavirus, a significant portion of the population in Ohio has been laid off or furloughed. First it was restaurants and bars, then barbershops and gyms, then Governor Dewine issued an executive order that closed all non-essential businesses. Governor Dewine issued an executive that expanded those who may be entitled to unemployment benefits to include those who have been laid off due to the coronavirus. You can read that executive order here.
If your a worker who was laid off, the first question I will ask is what is your work capacity? If you had been certified temporary and totally disabled by your BWC physician of record ( POR ) in a medco-14 then you will NOT be entitled to file for unemployment, you will be limited to only being able to file for temporary total disability through your workers comp claim.
However if you had been working with restrictions certified in a medco-14 by your POR and you were laid off due to the coronavirus, you would be entitled to file for both unemployment and temporary total disability compensation. Why? Your employer is no longer able to accommodate your work restrictions, they’ve laid you off.
Pros and Cons of Unemployment Versus Workers Comp
Probably the biggest advantage of applying for unemployment is that it will likely start to be paid quicker than workers comp benefits. If you apply for temporary total disability you will need to submit a C-84 form. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will need to process this request. The BWC may require that a nurse review the request to determine whether temporary total disability should be paid. They will then issue a BWC order indicating ttd should be paid. Your employer can then appeal this order.
If the order is appealed it will then be referred to a hearing before the Industrial Commission. The IC will docket it for a hearing. The hearing officer may or may not authorize the payment of ttd comp. All told, two to three months may go by before you have your hearing.
Now if you are receiving unemployment benefits and you subsequently receive temporary total disability compensation as well, you will not get both ttd comp and unemployment. The amount of ttd benefits you receive, will be offset by the amount unemployment benefits you receive. For example if you would have received $100 in temporary total disability compensation each week, but you are receiving $80 in unemployment benefits each week, you will only receive $20 in workers compensation benefits.
Now a final thing to consider is the following. Unemployment benefits are considered taxable income. Workers compensation benefits and workers compensation settlements are not taxable income, so you do not file state or federal income taxes on the workers comp benefits you receive.