How to Handle an Injury on the Job When You Need the Income

Getting injured at work can feel disastrous in multiple ways. You may wonder how you are going to cover the costs of the injury even as you are dealing with physical difficulties and pain. This will be especially difficult if you already have previous injuries or physical and mental traumas. You may even be concerned about whether or not you can even continue working. If this job is your only source of income, requires a level of physical ability your injury prevents, or you will have difficulty finding a new one or taking time off, you may be extremely stressed about the situation. Here are some tips on how to handle an injury on a job when you need the income.

(Photo Credit: The Gender Spectrum)

Follow Directions

After the injury, you might want to get back to work as soon as possible, ignoring your doctor’s instructions to stay away from the job. However, consider the long-term risks and potential loss of future income. Instead of getting back to into a work routine quickly, you might just make the injury worse, which means that you are going to need more time away from the job. Taking a little bit of time off now can help you to keep the income rolling in later on. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if you work for a company with more than 50 employees and have been employed over a year, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave. This is unpaid leave, but it means you will remain employed. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, do not attempt to push yourself through the pain, even if you have been trained to do so in previous situations. This will only temporarily put a pause on the healing process, and you will need to pay for it—with interest—later.

Ask for Desk Work

In the event that you have a physically demanding job, working with an injury is likely impossible. What you can do is to ask for light-duty work or for desk work while you recover. While your boss may not have any such work to provide for you, asking for it never hurts. Furthermore, you and your boss may actually find that you are a good fit for this new type of work, and you may have a job that is more fitting to your physical abilities as you age. It is important to know that employers are generally not required to provide this sort of work to injured workers, and employees have the right to refuse an offer of light-duty work reemployment if such a return to work has not been authorized by a healthcare professional.

Work from Home

Plenty of businesses have the option to allow employees to work from home in this modern era. In the event that you are confined to bed or you are unable to travel due to your injuries, working from home may provide you with the ability to remain at your job. Once again, talk to your boss or supervisor about your options. There are some simple strategies you can use when asking your boss to let you work from home. Explore your options, do your research, and consider practicing with a friend or coworker if you are nervous about the request.

Seek Financial Assistance

Of course, when your job is your major source of income, the money will be the largest source of stress and complications. There are many resources to help defray the costs of an injury. Most companies offer health insurance and benefits, and if the injury was sustained at work, your workplace should be able to recompense you. For example, you should absolutely look into worker's compensation to get paid while you are not at the job. Veterans also will be eligible for healthcare benefits that will further defray costs. The Veterans Health Administration has many resources that can help veterans understand their rights and benefits. Furthermore, you must know what your company’s policies are. Your company may have a policy that allows you to take a certain amount of paid time off from work in the event that you are injured.

Above all else, try to keep your stress levels from spiking during this situation. It’s natural for people to feel depressed after an injury, especially if it is adding to previous injuries or rendering them unable to work. Remember to take the long view of things and make efforts to talk to family, friends, or a therapist to de-stress. You will be able to get through this. There are many resources available to you, and your injury should not stop you from being successful at work. If you do need to find a new job that accommodates you, make sure to look into unemployment and disability benefits as you’re seeking a new career that better accommodates your health.

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