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Can I claim workers’ compensation benefits if I get COVID-19?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

It depends. This topic has been the subject of discussion and debate by the government and private businesses. On the one hand, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 covers federal workers who have had COVID-19.

For private businesses it depends on your state. The National Conference of State Legislatures suggests that common community-spread illnesses are generally not covered by workers’ compensation.

As the NCSL writes, states are in the process of working to extend workers’ compensation insurance to various employees, including first responders and healthcare workers impacted by COVID-19. However, the outcome remains unknown because we are only now seeing the long-term effects of the pandemic.

Twenty-eight states and Puerto Rico have made it possible for workers to claim workers’ compensation insurance. Because workers’ compensation laws vary state by state, it depends on each state’s legislature whether employers and insurance companies must include COVID-19 in their list of covered illnesses. California has passed two bills granting coverage to frontline workers and is working on expanding legislation to cover additional people.

What about long COVID?

Long COVID is still under study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention characterizes long COVID as an “umbrella term for the wide range of health consequences present four or more weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2.” The findings show that it is possible that as time goes on, state laws will continue to update to include both COVID-19 and long COVID in its list of covered diseases.

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