Governor Tim Walz signed an eight-month extension to the law that allows first responders and other front-line workers to collect presumptive workers’ compensation benefits in the event they contract COVID-19.
Last year, Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill that allowed first responders and healthcare workers to collect presumptive workers’ compensation benefits if they contracted COVID-19 and missed time away from work. When that original bill was passed, lawmakers said the presumptive benefits would remain in place until May 1st, 2021. As the deadline approached, many lawmakers felt that COVID-19 was still an issue in Minnesota, and they pushed for an extension to the presumptive benefits. Last week, just prior to the deadline, Gov. Walz signed a bill that will extend presumptive benefit eligibility until January 1, 2022.
What Are Presumptive Work Comp Benefits?
The presumptive workers’ compensation law states that any eligible employee who contracts COVID-19 and is forced to miss time away from work can file for and collect workers’ compensation. If they are a healthcare or front-line worker, it will be presumed that they contracted the virus at work, and therefore their application for benefits will be approved, even though it’s impossible to know with absolute certainty where contact with the virus occurred.
Unless an employer can prove that an infection happened elsewhere, the following groups would be eligible for presumptive workers’ compensation benefits if they missed time from work because they contracted COVID-19.
- Long-term care workers
- Home health care workers
- Police officers
- Correctional officers
- Daycare/Child Care providers
Teachers, retail workers and grocery store employees were not included in the extension, but those groups should not avoid filing a claim if they miss or have previously missed time because they contracted COVID-19. We can help make a strong case that showcases that you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even if they aren’t presumed.
According to data from the Minnesota Department of Labor, first responders and front-line health care workers accounted for 82 percent of the COVID-related filings for workers’ compensation. However, it’s also worth noting that 14 percent of claims filed by workers with the legal presumption were denied, which speaks to the importance of connecting with a lawyer to help ensure your claim is accepted and you maximize your award amount.
At Margolis Law Firm, we’ve helped a number of essential employees collect presumptive workers’ compensation benefits after they contracted COVID-19, and we can do the same for you. To learn more about your legal options, or if you just want to talk to a lawyer and see if you have a case, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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