The workers’ compensation program in Arizona provides two main kinds of benefits for eligible injured workers. Someone hurt on the job or diagnosed with a medical condition stemming from their employment can receive medical benefits that pay for their treatment. Unlike health insurance, the medical benefits available through workers’ compensation don’t impose any financial responsibilities on the injured worker. There are no co-pays to cover or deductibles to meet.
If someone’s medical condition is significant enough or their job is particularly demanding, they may also require time away to recuperate. Workers’ compensation also provides disability benefits for those who are temporarily or permanently unable to work. There are even partial disability benefits that can help those who must take lower-paying jobs because of a job-related medical issue.
It is usually in the best interest of the worker and the company that employs them for someone to get back to their job as soon as possible after an injury or diagnosis. However, workers may worry that returning to work could put them in a difficult position, possibly by terminating their right to medical benefits. Do a worker’s benefits automatically end as soon as they can return to work?
Benefits may continue in some cases
An employee’s return to work does not necessarily mean that they immediately resume earning what they did before their injury or diagnosis. In some cases, they may go back to a lower-paying position when they are able to do so. They might then still qualify for partial disability benefits.
Their medical coverage might potentially continue as well. If they still have symptoms that require management or are still in the middle of treatment, workers’ compensation may continue to pay for their expenses. Even if someone has permanent symptoms that may require occasional treatment or pain management for the rest of their working life, they might qualify for ongoing health benefits through workers’ compensation.
While the worker must disclose a return to work to adjust their benefits, they can continue receiving support through the same claim. The employee receiving benefits typically needs to know their rights and communicate effectively with both the doctor providing their care and their employer to maximize the benefits and support they receive.
Realizing that benefits can continue even when someone can return to work may help those worried about the impact that their health condition has had on their finances and their career.