For many workers, an injury on the job can be the difference between making it from one paycheck to the next, and not making it at all. In a troubled economy like ours, TIME reports that jobless claims are at their highest level since October of 1982, topping 5 million for the first time. It seems that the news about cuts and layoffs is unending, reaching from the NFL to textile factories, banks, and manufacturers of not-to-long-ago popular big-ticket items. The economy has everyone spooked. But what’s more, it has injured workers on edge more than others. At times, an injury on the job can require some time off for treatment and convalescing. While an employer cannot fire a worker for having filed a workers’ compensation claim, many are afraid that other reasons will be manufactured and scared employers will take advantage of “one less mouth to feed.” This is especially troubling given that the “dismal news” that Time reports shows no sign of slowing. Over 600,000 jobs were cut in January alone, and February’s numbers aren’t any better. No one can tell what March, or the markets, will bear out. In addition, home prices continue to slide and remain a vacant source of help for homeowners that just a few years ago enjoyed a fair amount of equity.
This may leave you wondering…is there any good news that an injured worker can turn to? Afterall, an injury on the job not only brings with it an emotional and physical stress component, it also brings economic stress. These stressors workers should not face alone. If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t suffer in silence – studies show that support from colleagues and management can speed recovery. In addition, if your employer is considering a furlough for employees, you may be able to arrange your furlough days to coincide with recovery. Finally, if your ailment is causing you to face troubles with housing costs, there may be hope for you among the recently passed legislation that allows homeowners to restructure and change their mortgages. Visit the Department of Housing & Urban Development website if you are afraid of losing your home. Even if you aren’t having difficulties paying mortgages now, if you suspect you might as a result of a workers’ compensation claim or on-the-job injury, there may be options. The Department of Housing and Urban Development reminds you not to stick your head in the sand – even if the economic news may make you want to do just that. Instead, reach out for support and gather information. As the recession deepens, more and more programs and legislation is forming to help workers who need a hand.