While it’s still safe to laud traditional family dynamics—breadwinner and homemaker, dual income households are becoming increasingly common. The days of daddy walking in from a hard day’s work and resting his work boots under the kitchen table are long gone. Mom’s work too. They make the bacon, and they fry it in the pan.
But how does the house fair financially if mom gets injured on the job?
Working moms face a higher risk of injury on the job due to health conditions. As a matter of study, most Job-related injuries reported to worker’s compensation by women are caused by stress, fatigue, and slumps in mental health, making it difficult for women to win claims against their employers. Surviving worker’s compensation is a tedious process that affects your mental and physical state of being.
So, if you are women who’s been injured on the job, here’s a working mom’s guide to surviving worker’s compensation.
Surviving Worker’s Compensation Means Telling Someone
File a claim. Moms who work juggle a cadre of things daily. Work is one of them. Managing both work and home is demanding. Add being injured on the job and you have the perfect recipe for a stressful disaster. And unfortunately, no one wants to be put in the uncomfortable position of telling the boss they’ve been hurt on the job. But you have to.
There’s an order in which you must follow before you file your claim.
- Gather yourself and notify the appropriate personnel of your injury immediately.
- Document your injury(s) in a report.
- Give an account of all who were present. Witnesses are helpful in any claim.
- Seek medical attention. Get checked out by your primary care physician as soon as possible. If your injury requires an ambulance, ask for one immediately.
- Complete a worker’s compensation application and keep track and record of all of your paperwork.
Dealing with the circumstances of a workplace injury can psyche you out. Make sure you have a leveled head while gathering the necessary information to file your claim. Calm down, focus, and try to be as accurate about your injury as possible.
Seek Legal Advice
It’s second-nature for moms to put everyone and everything before themselves. Workplace injuries are no different. You may not be able to return to work immediately, which means your household income will change. And because worker’s compensation only covers a fraction of your wages, while slighting your pain and suffering, you need to understand your rights legally.
Contact an attorney
Having an attorney on your side during the process helps alleviate mental anguish. They will consult with you and help negotiate for you.
This is an overbearing process. You need someone on your side. Organize your finances and hire the right attorney.
Have a Financial Backup Plan
Workplace injuries are never planned, and they catch people financially off guard all of the time—as do most monetary crises. Always have a backup plan.
In a recent Bankrate survey, it was discovered that out of the 34% of households here in the States who experienced an unexpected expense, similar to being out of work due to injury, only 39% of them could cover a $1000 setback. And that’s from using their savings accounts.
Most American workers live check to check. Dual income households the same. Inflation, cost of living, pay gaps, and money mismanagement all account for workers exhausting their wages as they come in. But even with these factors, moms can still salvage a bit of their bi-weekly income if they plan economically.
Here are a few ideas:
Set a Goal – Based on your individual financial circumstances, set a savings goal. The Bureau of Statistics suggests saving at least $28,656 for a household that spends $57,311. That’s pinching back $4800 a month to hold the family down for six months in the event of a monetary crisis. If your family spends less, adjust the numbers accordingly.
Hoard the Pennies – You read that right. Save your change. Every time you break a large bill, save the singles. When you break a dollar, keep the change. Store all of it in an old-fashioned piggy bank or an empty container. At the end of the month, deposit the lump into your savings account.
Trim Expenses – Cut the fat—those unnecessary expenses that drain your income. Choose WIFI or cable, pack a lunch for work, and drink your coffee at home.
Remember, in some states worker’s compensation does not completely compensate you for your loss of earnings. So, make sure you have a pre-planned backup plan.
Don’t forget your health
It’s not uncommon to gain weight after an injury. Depending on the type of workplace injury, physical activity may be discouraged by your physician and attorney. Inactivity, improper diet, and stress after an injury will put pounds on you.
But there are ways to maintain a healthy weight while you’re waiting to heal.
- Say no to empty calories. Empty calories come from foods that offer little to no nutritional value. Sugary snacks, artificial sweeteners, and fatty oils are prime examples of empty calories.
- Set a fasting time. Avoid eating late at night. Choose an appropriate time to eat dinner and don’t eat anything else until breakfast. Try giving your stomach at least twelve hours of fasting to give your digestive system a break.
- Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are low in calories and dense with nutrients. Aside from being filled with water, most vegetables are high in fiber, which help you feel fuller longer.
- Sleep is essential to a maintaining a healthy weight. Try getting at least eight hours every night.
Don’t allow your health to be derailed by an injury. The stress alone takes its tolls on your mental health. Combat both by maintaining a healthy diet.
Being a working mom is an arduous task. We play many roles—mom, wife, educator, chauffeur, chef, and breadwinner. When our roles are interrupted by injury, we have to find ways to sustain our way of life. That can be difficult when we’re surviving worker’s compensation circumstances. But it’s doable. Set a plan and follow the guide. Report your injuries, retain legal assistance, fall on your backup plan and protect your health.
Naomi C. Kellogg is an emerging screenwriter, content writer, and novelist who writes fiction, nonfiction, and dramas. She’s written for a national magazine, runs a blog, and heads the communications department for a 501c3 corporation. Naomi has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and is a member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), St. Petersburg Chapter, where she plans to mentor young African-American females who aspire to write. – naomickellogg.com