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Can I receive workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits at the same time in Tennessee?

If you’re unable to work because of an on-the-job injury, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, you are generally not eligible to receive unemployment benefits during this time period.

If you attempt to receive benefits you do not qualify for, this is considered a form of fraud. You risk both criminal and civil penalties.

Requirements for Worker’s Compensation in Tennessee

Workers’ compensation provides medical care and wage replacement benefits for part-time and full-time workers who have been injured while working. Under Tennessee law, most employers with five or more employees must provide coverage and mining or construction industry employers must provide coverage even if they only have one employee.

Requirements for Unemployment Benefits in Tennessee

Unemployment benefits in Tennessee require you to:

  1. Be unemployed through no fault of your own
  2. Have qualifying base period wages
  3. Be able to work
  4. Be available to work

For those who have been injured on the job, it’s the first and third requirements that present problems. If your position is being held for you until you are able to return to work, you are not considered unemployed. If your injuries prevent you from returning to your employment, this is thought to mean you are not capable of working.

Although it’s generally not possible to receive both workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits, there is one notable exception. If your work injury has left you partially disabled and unable to return to your old job, but you are able to do other types of work, you could be eligible for unemployment while you are searching for a new job.

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