A New State Rule Will Help First Responders Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for COVID-19
On April 22, 2020, it will become easier for first responders to receive workers’ compensation for missed work and illness due to the novel coronavirus. This is the date Missouri’s new emergency rule from the Division of Workers’ Compensation will go into effect. For the purposes of determining eligibility for workers’ compensation, it will be presumed that first responders who contract COVID-19 were exposed in the workplace. That means anyone who falls into this category will be saved the arduous process of proving their illness was caused by their work rather than exposure elsewhere.
In a time such as this, we are proud of the Missouri government for doing what is right to protect those who put their lives at risk every time they answer a call for help. Our team is here to help first responders with the workers’ compensation process. The benefits you could receive can provide a vital financial cushion in a time when so many Americans are struggling to keep up with rent, bills, and other day-to-day expenses.
The Details of Your Eligibility
If you want to apply for workers’ compensation after contracting the novel coronavirus, our attorneys can help you figure out if you’re eligible. Below, we break down the basics for you.
Who Does This Rule Apply To?
First responders whose illness will be assumed a consequence of their work include:
- Law enforcement officers
- Emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
What Is Covered?
All work disruptions due to the novel coronavirus are covered, including:
- Work-enforced quarantine due to suspected on-the-job exposure
- Time off work and medical treatment due to symptoms of COVID-19
- Time off work due to a positive COVID-19 test
- Time off work and medical treatment due to a COVID-19 diagnosis by a medical professional
Due to the current shortage of tests, the government has elected to cover presumed cases as well as confirmed cases.
What Is Not Covered?
If the employee is later tested and it is determined they did not have COVID-19, workers’ compensation will not cover any losses from time off work and medical treatment. Missed wages due to quarantine will not be covered if an employee’s suspected exposure happened outside the workplace.
What If I Get Sick Before this Rule Goes into Action?
Though the presumption your COVID-19 infection was work-related will not officially be established until April 22nd, the rule was written to be retroactive. This means if you miss work because of COVID-19 in the meantime, or even if you contracted the disease before this rule was created, you will still be able to apply for workers’ compensation benefits.
What Benefits Could I Receive?
If you contract COVID-19, you will be eligible for all typical workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability (if applicable)
- Survivor benefits (if applicable)
How Do I Get Started?
If you meet the criteria above, your first step will be to report your injury to your employer using an Accident or Injury Report form. Despite the relaxed requirements, you must start the workers’ compensation process within 30 days of discovering the injury if you want your case to be considered. You must also be able to offer proof of losses. Our attorney is here to help you complete this process.
Now Providing Contact-Free Guidance
As non-essential workers, our team is working remotely rather than going to the office. However, we are still available to help if you’re considering filing a workers’ compensation claim. You can call us or contact us online to get started—we’re providing free consultations via phone, email, and video chat.
Especially with time-sensitive processes such as workers’ compensation, we understand the need to keep everything moving. Our team is set up to complete all duties remotely, so you won’t be left waiting.
Virtual Courts in Session
The Division of Workers’ Compensation is not conducting in-person proceedings right now; however, they are accepting electronic submissions and conducting mediations, hearings, and other processes via video conferencing. Once we prepare your filing, we will prepare to represent you in hearings and other procedures.
Once again, we’d like to thank those who are risking their health to help the rest of us during this pandemic. We wish health and safety to you and your loved ones.
If you missed work because of quarantine or illness, reach out to us today to start your workers’ compensation claim. We’re available at (816) 865-5700, or you can contact us online at any time.