Can I Earn Money from eBay, Etsy, Poshmark or Amazon While on Workers’ Comp in South Carolina?
Columbia hurt at work attorney discusses supplemental income for injured employees and its impact on benefit checks
Suffering a job-related injury can be a life-altering event, bringing not only physical pain but also financial strain.
Work injuries affect millions each year, with consequences reaching far beyond physical harm. From lost wages and medical bills to chronic pain and emotional trauma, the true cost of a workplace accident can be crippling.
On online news and social platforms like X, personal accounts vividly share raw and unfiltered stories of on-the-job injuries, painting a human face on the statistics of workplace accidents.
These narratives often delve into the financial turmoil that ensues post-injury—the struggle of managing with a reduced paycheck, the urgent need for a secondary income stream, and the looming question of whether such endeavors could jeopardize workers’ comp benefits.
Thank you. Almost a year ago, my boss wasn’t paying attention and plowed me over with a forklift. Traumatic injury that caused me to develop CRPS. There’s no cure, just trying to survive it.
Injured myself at work today. Come home to find something blew up with a power surge that’s going to cost $$$$ to fix. Anything else wanna come kick me while I’m down?
This headline, “2 jailed over safety lapses that led to worker deaths: MOM,” serves as a chilling reminder that beneath the routine of everyday work, a web of safety protocols must be constantly maintained.
Each lapse, each corner cut, threatens not just productivity but the very lives of those who contribute to the daily grind.
Fortunately, in South Carolina, as in many other states, injured workers are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to help mitigate the financial impact of their injuries.
These SC work injury benefits are intended to provide temporary relief by covering medical expenses and compensating for lost wages. However, the reality is that the amount received is often less than the worker’s regular income, leading to financial pressures as they recover.
Injured workers often find themselves grappling with a critical question: How can I supplement my income for my family during this challenging period?
For many, venturing into online businesses like eBay, Etsy, Poshmark or Amazon to sell merchandise online seems like a feasible solution. These platforms offer a way to earn from home, which is particularly appealing given an injured worker’s physical limitations.
But are there any legal issues with starting an online business while receiving workers’ compensation after an injury?
Is there a risk of losing workers’ comp benefits by earning additional income?
This is a big question. It’s a precarious balance—seeking financial stability without inadvertently stepping over legal boundaries or risking accusations of fraud.
Understanding your rights and income options after a work injury or job-related accident
Our attorneys understand the complexities and concerns surrounding the intersection of workers’ comp benefits and additional income streams.
The primary concern is to ensure that any additional income does not jeopardize the injured worker’s rightful benefits or lead to allegations of fraud.
Insight from Columbia’s leading working injury attorney, Bill Smith:
“It depends. There is nothing wrong with participating in an online business, as that would usually fall within any physical restrictions placed on the injured worker by their physician.
However, any money made from a work or business activity should be reported to the employer/insurance carrier so as to avoid any allegation of fraud against the injured worker who is receiving temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.
Injured workers receiving temporary total disability benefits should be receiving two-thirds of their pre-injury average weekly wage in weekly checks.
For example, an injured worker earning $1000 per week before their injury would receive $666.67 per week in a non-taxable workers’ compensation benefit post-injury.
However, if they start an online business during their disability but earn less money than their pre-injury earnings, they could recover temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits, which would be two-thirds of the diminution in earnings.
In other words, assuming the same $1000 in pre-injury weekly earnings, if the injured worker earned $400 from the online business, their earnings are reduced by $600, which then means they could receive a $400 temporary partial check ($600 x 0.6667).
So they now have $400 in actual income that is taxable as well as the $400 non-taxable workers’ compensation benefit.
Weekly paycheck =$1,000.00
Weekly benefits = 2/3 of a weekly paycheck
- Benefits=$1,000.00 × 0.6667
Now, back to answering your original and perhaps larger question: Any wages or business activity likely results in some way as a credit against the benefit as shown above.”
Income from any work or business activity, including online ventures, must be reported to the employer or insurance carrier.
This disclosure is crucial to maintaining the claim’s integrity and precluding any accusations of deceit.
“However, selling personal items already owned would not qualify.
If an injured worker decided to sell their baseball card collection on eBay to make ends meet, that is simply a sale of personal property and not wages or a business activity.
The same would be true of selling a car or home. Likewise, stock market gains or cashing out a 401K on an emergency basis would not be a business activity.
In short, the more it looks like work or running a business activity, the more problematic it is.”
So, long story short, knowledge and transparency are your guide in the intricate dance between maintaining workers’ comp benefits and seeking additional income.
It’s clear that while opportunities exist to supplement income through online businesses or other means, the lines are finely drawn.
While injured on the job, the key to secondary income is to navigate these waters with full disclosure and a keen understanding of the regulations.
It’s best to disclose your plan to your attorney fully. You, the injured workers, can protect your benefits while exploring avenues to support their financial needs during recovery.
At Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, we recognize that each individual’s circumstance is unique, which is why we provide the necessary guidance tailored to your situation. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to give you the help and information you need to get back on the road to recovery.
Call or submit a free consultation form today.