Do I have to look for work while on workers compensation?

Why you need to look for work while on workers compensation in Michigan and how your wage loss benefits could be affected.

The Michigan Legislature approved major changes to workers compensation in 2011. The most controversial involving the calculation of wage loss benefits. Individuals are now required to look for work while on workers compensation.

Insurance companies are also free to decide on their own whether someone is only partially disabled. Wage loss benefits can then be cut based upon an imaginary job.

This is a terrible change and it’s not fair. Here is a letter we send to our client about the need to perform a good-faith job search in order to protect their benefits.

Sample job search letter

The purpose of this letter is to explain the job search process and why it is necessary for your case. Please read this letter carefully and follow the suggestions below.

Michigan law requires that you apply for jobs within your restrictions. It does not matter if you are still employed or receiving other types of disability benefits. We know this is a difficult task and it is not fair. However, we want to put you in the best position to win your case.

Insurance companies can use “wage earning capacity” to reduce or stop benefits. It does not matter if you are earning real wages or not. Think of wage earning capacity as your ability to find other employment with your injury.

Most people are not totally disabled but have restrictions from their doctors. A magistrate may consider a good-faith job search to determine whether jobs truly exist. It just matters that you look for work. This is how you stand a better chance to win your case at trial.

We recommend that you begin your job search immediately. You should start by contacting Pure Michigan Talent Connect at 1-888-522-0103 or www.mitalent.org. You can also look for jobs in your local newspaper or on the Internet. We suggest using the following websites: www.craigslist.org and www.monster.com.

Do not limit yourself to past jobs. Consider hobbies, skills, and talents. The more jobs you apply for the stronger your case becomes.

It is important to keep track of your job leads. This helps with settlement negotiations and at trial. Write down the date you applied, name of the company, position applied for, who you spoke with, and why you were not hired. Keep copies of applications, e-mails, and rejection letters. Keep these in a safe place so that when we ask for the information it will be available.

Where to turn for help

Dealing with your employer and its insurance company can be overwhelming. This is especially true when wage loss benefits have been cut off and you have no income. Let us help you with your situation.

Call (855) 221-2667 to speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Michigan. We are committed to protecting your legal rights and never charge a fee unless you are successful with your case.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to review a case.

Related information:

Why your “wage earning capacity” matters under Michigan workers compensation

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