Important: We updated this article with the most current data, links, and statistics in May 2022. In Puerto Rico, workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for all employees. Unless you’re a federal employee, all claims are handled within the territory and approved requests are paid directly through the State Insurance Fund Corporation (CFSE). Any Puerto Rican who gets hurt or sick on the job and wants to file a workers’ comp claim should follow the specific steps set in place by government officials. Below, we list the usual steps to file a Puerto Rico workers’ compensation claim, plus statistical insights from the last five years of the program’s history.
How to File Your Puerto Rico Workers’ Compensation Claim
All employers on the island must provide Puerto Rico workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Federal employees, however, must file Puerto Rico workers’ compensation claims through the U.S. government. This insurance policy protects everyone when a workplace injury or illness occurs. Here are the steps to apply for workers’ comp benefits:
- Notify your employer of your workplace injury or illness immediately. If needed, seek emergency medical care at the closest clinic or hospital right away! Otherwise, you must go to one of these CFSE-approved facilities for a medical exam and treatment.
- Your employer must file your Puerto Rico workers’ compensation claim with the CFSE within 5 business days. For an occupational illness, the deadline for filing your claim is normally 3 years from your diagnosis date.
- You may get disability compensation only after the CFSE-assigned workers’ comp doctor says your injury prevents you from working. This is usually on a short-term basis, and pays $30-$100 per week while you need time off to recover. You can receive these payments no more than 312 weeks, per PR law.
- Employers must pay disability compensation by check or a Workers’ Compensation Card (TCT) within 5 days of claim approval.
- If your employer denies or disputes your claim, you have 30 days to appeal with Puerto Rico’s Industrial Commission (CIPR).
We realize that no two claims are identical, so your own process may vary. For information about PR workers’ compensation benefits in English, visit the Social Security Administration’s website.
Puerto Rico Workers’ Compensation Statistics
The annual workers’ compensation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes data for nearly all states and territories. This report lists total workers’ comp claims filed, how many employees missed work, and claims data for all job sectors. Our chart below shows Puerto Rico workers’ compensation claim data from 2016-2020:
While 2020 was an unusual year for all workers globally, we did note a few interesting trends. First, total Puerto Rico workers’ compensation claims fell 30% during the five-year period from 2016 to 2020. Service-industry workers filed 25% fewer claims in 2020 than they did five years earlier. Finally, there’s a 25% drop in injured employees who missed work, transferred jobs or received restrictions from 2016-2020.
Interestingly, service-industry employees file nearly 3 in every 5 Puerto Rico workers’ compensation claims (54%-59% each year). But the more surprising statistic is, by far, how many injured workers in PR qualify for wage-loss disability compensation. According to the chart above, nearly 3 in every 4 claimants each year qualified for those weekly payments (69%-74%).
Puerto Rico also recently passed a law on when businesses can count coronavirus as an occupational disease.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
If the workers’ compensation process seems confusing, you’re not alone. That’s why we encourage you to speak with a compassionate local lawyer for free about your claim. A workers’ compensation advocate in our network will happily call within one business day to give you free claim advice by phone.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.