Workers’ Compensation is a government-mandated insurance program paid for by your employer that provides benefits if you become injured on the job. The laws governing this program in Oklahoma are complicated, and various factors can add even more layers of complexity. One of those is the area of additional income and how it can impact Workers’ Compensation.
A specific issue with many Oklahoma workers is how child support affects Workers’ Compensation benefits. This can be broken down into a few specific issues:
- Does income from Workers’ Compensation count toward calculating child support obligations?
- Must I continue to pay child support if I am receiving Workers’ Compensation?
- Can my Workers’ Compensation benefits be taken for unpaid child support?
- Does receiving child support payments reduce my Workers’ Compensation benefits?
The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC can provide answers to these and many other questions that can arise when you become injured at work. Here, we address the above questions in two sections: those paying child support and those receiving child support.
Paying Child Support and Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Child support orders are firm and strongly defended in Oklahoma. Workers’ Compensation benefits impact your child support obligation in a few important ways.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Included in Your Income
Oklahoma law, Title 43, Section 118B, specifies the types of income that determine your child support obligation. They include gross income, earned income and passive income. Workers’ Compensation is specifically listed under passive income. Therefore, it is to be included when calculating how much child support you will pay.
You Must Pay Your Child Support When Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are under a court order to pay child support, you are required to pay it regardless of circumstances. Although your income is reduced because Workers’ Compensation only replaces a percentage of your previous wages, this in no way changes your court-ordered child support obligations. If you receive Workers’ Compensation benefits and expect to be disabled for an extended period, you may petition the family court for a downward modification in your child support obligations.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can Be Taken for Unpaid Child Support
Oklahoma law, Title 85A, Section 10, authorizes a lien against Workers’ Compensation benefits to enforce a judgement for child support. This means that any unpaid or overdue child support payments can be subtracted from your benefit payments.
Receiving Child Support and Workers’ Compensation Benefits
For those receiving child support payments and working who become injured on the job and file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, the question is, “Does receiving child support payments reduce my Workers’ Compensation benefits?”
Oklahoma law, Title 85A Section 2 Definitions clearly defines what income is to be used to calculate Workers’ Compensation benefits:
“‘Wages’ means money compensation received for employment at the time of the accident, including the reasonable value of board, rent, housing, lodging, or similar advantage received from the employer and includes the amount of tips required to be reported by the employer under Section 6053 of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto or the amount of actual tips reported, whichever amount is greater.”
No other income sources are reviewed or considered when calculating your Workers’ Compensation benefits. Therefore, your child support income will not harm your eligibility for Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ Compensation in Oklahoma
Workers’ Compensation in Oklahoma is complex and many factors impact how you may qualify for benefits. An experienced Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney from Armstrong Law Firm, PLC in Tulsa can provide guidance and support to help you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free case evaluation.