Important: We updated this article in January 2023 to ensure everything below is both current and accurate. The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act determines how the state handles benefits claims for injured employees. State law outlines who receives benefits as well as how the process works. If you were injured or got sick on the job in the Last Frontier, you should focus on getting better, not feeling anxious about the claims process.
Alaska Workers’ Comp Eligibility
State law requires Alaska workers’ compensation coverage for all employers with one or more employees except:
- Part-time babysitters
- Amateur sports officials (including referees, announcers and team players)
- Professional hockey coaches and players (for teams providing health insurance plans)
- Entertainers contracted to perform at one-off events
- TANF recipients in state-required work programs/activities
- Commercial fishing employees
- Seasonal/part-time harvesting help (farms, fisheries)
- Certain qualified Realtors
- Uber/Lyft and other driving service contractors
Important: Federal employees have their own program that provides workers’ comp benefits nationwide.
How to Apply for Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Important: Seek treatment immediately if you require emergency or urgent care. Tell the doctor your injury or illness is work-related, and keep your receipts and bills.
Every workers’ comp case is different, so your experience may vary. For most people, the Alaska workers’ compensation application process works like this:
- Report your workplace accident to your employer in writing immediately. Don’t delay! You must notify your employer within 30 days or you might lose your right to make a claim. Your employer will give you a Report of Injury form to complete and return.
- Choose your treating doctor. At your first non-emergency doctor’s appointment, remind the doctor that your injury or illness is work-related and give them your employer’s official name and address. This doctor may refer to you a specialist. Give your doctor’s name and address to the insurer once you receive treatment. Important: If you change doctors after that first visit, you must notify the insurer to make sure those bills are covered.
- Ask your doctor to forward a report to the insurer and the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board within 14 days. A delay in submission may impact your claim.
- Be patient. Your employer must either approve or deny your claim within 21 days. If approved, then you’ll get your first payment within 14-21 days. State law requires a three-day waiting period before benefits start. On day four, forward copies of your W-2, paycheck stubs or bank deposit records to the insurer so they can calculate your weekly lost wage amount.
- Consider an appeal. If your claim is denied, then you’ll receive a Controversion Notice explaining how to dispute that decision. Important: You have two years to request an appeal hearing before the Board.
Want to know more? Download Alaska’s “Workers’ Compensation and You” brochure.
Alaska Workers’ Compensation Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of recordable Alaska workers’ compensation cases declined from 9,200 in 2017 to 7,400 in 2021. The drop is thanks in part to COVID-19’s impact and to a reduction in service-industry claims from 5,800 to 4,900 during the same period. Alaskans who missed work, transferred jobs or received restrictions remained largely unchanged during this time.
Free Legal Assistance with Your Workers’ Comp Claim
When you’re living with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the workers’ compensation system can cause even more pain.
Consider working with an experienced workers’ comp attorney for free, confidential claim assistance. These specialists usually work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay a fee unless you win a cash settlement. You only owe a reasonable, one-time fee when your case is successful.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.