Workers’ Compensation Benefits: What You Need to Know
Worker’s compensation pays benefits to workers who become injured or ill from their job. Here is what you need to know about workers’ compensation benefits.
A workplace shouldn’t be a death trap. But it often is. 2.7 million workers experienced nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2020, with nearly 5,000 workers dying.
You need to take many steps to protect and care for your employees. One essential step is workers’ compensation. Yet you must not buy the first insurance package you see.
What is workers’ compensation, and what are workers’ compensation benefits like? Can employees receive work benefits if they are disabled or have psychological injuries? What kind of package should you get?
Answer these questions and you can create the safest workspace in the United States. Here is your quick guide.
The Basics of Workers’ Comp Insurance
Workers comp is insurance coverage that provides for an employee after they are injured. Most packages only provide coverage if an employee is injured on the job. They must not be at fault for their injuries.
Workers comp can also cover work-related illnesses. Some packages offer worker comp benefits to people who get COVID-19 from their job. But it can be hard to prove a direct connection between work and an infection.
In order to receive compensation, an employee must file a report with their insurer. They must provide proof that their injuries came from their job. They can show surveillance footage of an accident, or they can include witness testimonies of a fall.
Hourly, part-time, and full-time employees must receive coverage. Volunteers and independent contractors do not unless they are engaged in long-term or dangerous projects for your company.
Nearly all states require employers to provide workers comp benefits. Before you buy a package, you need to review your local laws. Make sure you meet all regulations, as you risk fines if you don’t follow them.
Medical Expenses and Ongoing Costs
The majority of benefits in workers comp goes toward medical expenses. An employee can receive money to cover a visit to the emergency room. If they need to be hospitalized, they can also cover the expenses of their hospitalization and surgery.
One-quarter of traumatic brain injuries occur at work. Even a “mild” injury like a concussion can require years of physical therapy and accommodations. Someone may struggle with memory loss, poor coordination, and mood swings that can impede their work performance.
Many insurers recognize this, so they cover the ongoing costs of significant injuries. They provide money for physical therapy and tools like walkers that can help someone go to work. They may provide money for psychological therapy, especially for disorders like PTSD.
Someone who witnesses an accident may develop a stress or anxiety disorder. They may need therapy, medication, and accommodations so they don’t have panic attacks. If they can prove a link between their condition and the accident, they can receive compensation for their services.
If an employee is hospitalized or needs time off so they can recover, they can receive some of their lost wages. Some packages allow an employee to receive two-thirds of the wages they lost.
These benefits are in addition to paid time off. You cannot substitute paid time off and medical leave with workers’ comp benefits.
Workers comp benefits are also separate from Social Security benefits. An employee can receive both, especially if they are no longer able to work.
Workers comp is taxable, though the taxation rates vary from state to state. A worker may be able to file for a deduction depending on how big their benefits are. You should ask your injured workers to talk to tax advisors before they file their taxes.
Disability and Retraining Benefits
A worker may be able to return to the job with a partial disability. They can receive benefits to cover their added expenses, even as they continue to work.
You are not obliged to offer training or alternate work for your employee. But if you choose to retrain your employee, you may be able to get compensation from your insurer for it.
You should try to limit the expenses of your retraining. Run the program yourself and find a job for your employee within your company.
If your worker opts to transition companies, they can receive workers comp from your company. They will continue to receive disability benefits until they receive a formal job offering.
Employees who experience repetitive strain injuries can also receive benefits. Someone who develops carpal tunnel syndrome and cannot work at a desk can get money so they can train for a different job.
If an employee dies due to a work injury, your package can cover all death benefits. It can provide a direct payout to the family, allowing the spouse and children to support themselves for several months. It can also cover funeral costs, including burial.
Paying money to the family does not mean that you are responsible for the death. Yet a family can file a lawsuit against your company, even after receiving money.
The Essentials of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation helps employees after they get injured or sick on the job. You do not have to pay reckless employees. Yet workers’ compensation benefits can be rather extensive.
An employee can cover the costs of hospitalization, medications, and physical therapy. They can get some of their lost wages back, and they can receive help for retraining.
But the terms of packages vary wildly. You should try to find one that is generous, especially with death benefits.
You don’t have to go far. One Force Workers Comp provides premium packages. Contact us today.