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
- 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
Here’s how to apply for Alaska workers’ compensation benefits:
- Report your workplace accident to your employer in writing immediately. Seek medical treatment first, if needed. If this happens, tell that doctor your injury’s work-related and keep any bills/receipts. However, you must notify your employer within 30 days to qualify for workers’ compensation.
- Your employer then gives you a Report of Injury (ROI) form to complete. Complete the employee section only, then return it to your employer.
- After submitting notice, choose your treating doctor. At your first non-emergency doctor’s appointment, say your injury’s work-related and provide your employer’s official name and address. If you change doctors after that, you must notify the insurer to cover those bills. However, it won’t count as a change in doctors if your current provider refers you to a specialist.
- 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 insurer once you receive treatment.
- 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 insurer. They need this info to calculate your weekly lost wage amount.
- Your employer must approve or deny your claim within 21 days. If approved, you’ll get your first payment within 14-21 days.
- If denied, you’ll receive a Controversion Notice explaining how to dispute that decision. You then have two years to request an appeal hearing before the Board.
Every Alaska workers’ compensation claim is unique, so your own experience may vary. For more detailed information, download the “Workers’ Compensation and You” brochure.
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 in that job sector fell 18% between 2013 and 2017. Compare that to the total claims filed during that same five-year period, which fell just 12%. Still, less than half of all claims filed each year qualify for workers’ comp. No injury or illness qualifies for benefits until you miss at least three work shifts. If it takes you 28 days or longer to recover, then 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!
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.