Workers' compensation (workers’ comp) is a form of accident insurance paid by employers. No payroll deductions are taken out of employees' salaries for this insurance. If you’re injured on the job or acquire a work-related illness, workers’ comp will pay your medical expenses, and if you can’t work, it will also cover wage-loss compensation until you’re able to return to work.
Benefits are usually paid by a private insurance company or state-run workers’ comp fund. It also provides benefits to dependents if a person dies as a result of a job-related injury. If you’re injured on the job while employed by a private company, you should contact your state workers' compensation board. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) does not handle workers' comp claims relating to private employers. (Note that workers’ comp is not the same as Social Security Disability benefits, which are paid by the Social Security Administration and have different eligibility requirements.)
Not all employees are covered by state workers’ comp insurance. Some employees are covered by other compensation laws administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, DOL’s Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers four major disability compensation programs that provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to federal workers (or their dependents) who are injured at work or acquire an occupational disease. The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, the Federal Employees' Compensation Program, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Program and the Black Lung Benefits Program serve the specific employee groups who are covered under relevant laws and regulations by helping to pay some of the financial burden resulting from a workplace injury.
U.S. Department of Labor Workers’ Compensation Resources
- State Workers' Compensation Offices
- Division of Federal Employees' Compensation
- Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation
- Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
- Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation
Other Workers’ Compensation Resources
- Workers’ Compensation Resources from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion
- Report: Helping Workers Who Develop Medical Problems Stay Employed — Expanding Washington’s COHE Program Beyond Workers’ Compensation
- Report: Best Practices in Employee Retention and Return-to-Work: An In-Depth Look Inside an Exemplary American Corporation
- National Academy of Social Insurance — Workers' Compensation and Disability
- Report: Promoting Retention or Reemployment of Workers after a Significant Injury or Illness