How to Get Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Alaska workers' compensation benefits

The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act determines how the state handles benefit claims for injured employees. (Federal employees have their own program that provides workers’ comp benefits nationwide.) If you’re hurt or sick at work in Alaska, follow the steps below to apply for benefits. Then, see how the Alaska workers’ compensation program changed from 2013-2017 in our interactive chart.

Which Employers Must Carry Alaska Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

State law requires Alaska workers’ compensation coverage for all employers with one or more employees. Exceptions not covered under the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act include:

  • Part-time babysitters
  • Housekeepers
  • 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

How to Apply for Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits

According to the Department of Labor, here’s how to apply for Alaska workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. Report your workplace injury or illness to your employer in writing immediately. You can seek medical treatment before notifying anyone, if needed. If this happens to you, be sure to tell that doctor your injury’s work-related and keep any bills/receipts. However, you must notify your employer within 30 days in order to qualify for Alaska workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. Your employer then gives you a Report of Injury (ROI) form to fill out. Complete the employee section only, then return it to your employer. If your employer fails or refuses to provide this form, contact the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board.
  3. After submitting notice of your injury, you may choose your treating doctor. At your first non-emergency doctor’s appointment, say your injury’s work-related and give them your employer’s official name and address. If you change doctors after that, you must notify the insurance company so those bills get covered. However, it won’t count as a change in doctors if your current provider refers you to see a specialist.
  4. Ask your doctor to forward a report to the insurer and Board within 14 days. You must also give your doctor’s name and address to the insurance company once you’re treated.
  5. If your injury makes you miss more than three work shifts, send the insurer your earnings records. State law requires this waiting period before anyone can get workers’ comp benefits. On day four, forward copies of your W-2, paycheck stubs or bank deposit records to the insurance company. They need this info to calculate your weekly lost wage payment amount.
  6. Your employer must approve or deny your claim within 21 days after learning you’re injured. If approved, you’ll get your first benefit payment within 14-21 days.
  7. If your claim’s denied, you’ll receive a Controversion Notice explaining how to dispute that decision with the Board. You then have two years from that denial date to request an appeal hearing before the Board.

Every Alaska workers’ compensation claim is unique, so your own experience applying for benefits may vary. For more detailed information, download the “Workers’ Compensation and You” brochure from the Alaska Department of Labor’s website.

Alaska Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2013-2017

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’ annual statistical report details workers’ compensation program data for most states. They show total claims filed, how many people missed work or changed jobs and data for specific employment sectors. Our chart below shows how the Alaska workers’ compensation program changed from 2013 to 2017.

The Alaska workers’ compensation program shows the most changes affecting service-industry workers between 2013 and 2017. The service industry typically makes up about half the workplace injuries reported in most U.S. states. But in this state, service-industry employees file closer to 60% of all Alaska workers’ compensation claims, on average. Luckily, claims filed for that dominant job sector fell 18% between 2013 and 2017. Compare that to the total Alaska workers’ compensation claims filed during that same five-year period, which fell just 12%. Still, only about half of all claims filed each year qualify for workers’ comp benefits in Alaska. No injury or illness qualifies for benefits until after it makes you miss three work shifts. If it takes you 28 days or longer to recover, workers’ comp covers those first three days you missed work.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

The Alaska workers’ compensation claims process is often confusing. All those different forms, records and receipts are harder to manage when you’re sick or in pain. And if you have pre-existing health issues, it’s much harder to claim benefits.

That’s why we recommend talking to a workers’ comp attorney about your case. It’s completely free to get legal advice before you file a claim or start your appeal. All workers’ comp lawyers work on contingency. That means you’ll never pay for legal assistance unless that lawyer helps you win. And if your case does win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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