COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation laws protect employees with a job-related illness or injury. Workers’ compensation provides benefits for employees who suffer from an injury on the job, including coverage for lost wages, medical bills and rehabilitation expenses.

COVID-19 has continued to impact the workforce in a number of ways. Numerous patients often ask if they can receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 while working

Can I receive Workers’ Compensation for contracting COVID-19 while working?

Yes, employees may receive Workers’ Compensation benefits from COVID-19 exposure while working in New York State. However, cases and claims are individualized. Therefore, we will discuss essential information to access Workers’ Compensation benefits due to COVID-19 during employment. Immigration status does not impact Workers’ Compensation.

What are the available benefits?

Workers’ Compensation allows payment of a patient’s medical treatment for a work-related illness, injury, or wage replacement benefits. As a result, if a condition prevents employment tasks or death, benefits are awarded to the employee’s surviving family or state reimbursement of capped funeral expenses.

What information is required to prove exposure to COVID-19 as work-related?

Employees may need to provide information that their COVID-19 claim is work-related. However, most patients cannot determine when exposed to COVID-19. Although, you may exhibit that you became exposed significantly higher at work, such as in an environment where COVID-19 is more prevalent. Employees who work in a higher prevailing environment are more likely to receive a payable claim or compensable.

In addition, some employees work more closely with the public with documented exposure to COVID-19, including healthcare workers, first responders, transportation workers, corrections officers, food service, and retail workers.

Suppose you believe you became exposed to COVID-19 at work. Then, you should file a claim with details of your employment, how often you work, and your job responsibilities, especially if working directly with the public.

In addition, provide a medical report from an authorized Workers’ Compensation medical provider indicating your work caused COVID-19. Disclose your workplace details and employment duties to the medical provider. Showing a positive COVID-19 is best for an authorized provider to diagnose via PCR or examination.

How can I file a claim?

It is essential to inform your employer about your illness in writing an email or a document. However, do not send text messages because they are challenging to locate and reproduce. Next, report an Employee Claim (Form C-3), available in multiple languages. You may locate the Form C-3 report on the Workers’ Compensation Board’s website, fill it out online, or print and send a paper form to the Board.

See any physician in emergencies. Otherwise, it is imperative to make an appointment with an authorized Workers’ Compensation physician. Then, either file your positive COVID-19 test result or request your physician file it for you along with Form C-3. Request a written copy of your test result if you initially received your result via the telephone.

Discuss with your COVID-19-treating physician if you suspect contracting the illness at work. The physician will report to the insurance company and the Workers’ Compensation Board. In addition, you may find a board-authorized provider on their website. You may also access physicians via telemedicine, video, or telephone.

What happens after filing a claim?

Once you file a claim, a Workers’ Compensation insurance company or administrator will review your claim, who will pay your benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Board will receive all of your claim records. When accepted, your COVID-19 claim becomes compensable or payable.

A Workers’ Compensation Board judge will decide if a claim requires paying if a dispute arises by listening to testimony from you and your physician, learning about your workplace, and deciding if you became exposed to COVID-19, the extent, and whether exposure was prevalent in your workplace.

How long does the claim process take?

Immediately report your illness to your employer, as they will notify their insurer of it due to your employment. The insurer must act on the claim and begin paying benefits. When the insurer accepts the claim within 18 days of the incident or ten days from the notice, whichever is later, the Board will begin paying claims as received. The Board will hold hearings if any disputes arise to ensure paying benefits promptly, and employees may continue supporting their families.

Available benefits during COVID-19 Quarantine Leave

Employers with ten or fewer employees with a net income of less than a million will provide employees job protection according to the COVID-19 quarantine leave. However, employers with ten or fewer employees with a net income greater than one million will provide at least five days of paid sick leave and provide job protection, paid family leave, and disability when eligible during quarantine.

In addition, employees who work for employers with 11 to 99 employees may use paid time, leave, and disability benefits during quarantine periods. Lastly, employers with at least 100 employees and all public employers provide employees with at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guaranteed job protection.

Employers should verify with their payroll department about COVID-19 premium-related reductions and may notice that coverage expenses are not so costly. In addition, notify your carrier about PPE equipment for possible reimbursements and inquire about the class code for telecommuter reassigned employees.

Visit the Department of Labor and the Workers’ Compensation Board to stay informed of ever-changing COVID-19 rules.

Refer to your state’s Workers’ Compensation Board website or speak with a Workers’ Compensation attorney for additional information.

Advocates for Injured Workers

An ombudsman is available to help employees handle complex claims and fatalities. This advocate reports directly to the Chair of the agency.

Refer to your state’s Workers’ Compensation Board website or speak with a Workers’ Compensation attorney for additional information.

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